Today’s word comes from John 7:14-36 The Message Bible:
14-15 With the Feast already half over, Jesus showed up in the Temple, teaching. The Jews were impressed, but puzzled: “How does he know so much without being schooled?”
16-19 Jesus said, “I didn’t make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up. A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality. It was Moses, wasn’t it, who gave you God’s Law? But none of you are living it. So why are you trying to kill me?”
20 The crowd said, “You’re crazy! Who’s trying to kill you? You’re demon-possessed.”
21-24 Jesus said, “I did one miraculous thing a few months ago, and you’re still standing around getting all upset, wondering what I’m up to. Moses prescribed circumcision—originally it came not from Moses but from his ancestors—and so you circumcise a man, dealing with one part of his body, even if it’s the Sabbath. You do this in order to preserve one item in the Law of Moses. So why are you upset with me because I made a man’s whole body well on the Sabbath? Don’t be hypercritical; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.”
25-27 That’s when some of the people of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this the one they were out to kill? And here he is out in the open, saying whatever he pleases, and no one is stopping him. Could it be that the rulers know that he is, in fact, the Messiah? And yet we know where this man came from. The Messiah is going to come out of nowhere. Nobody is going to know where he comes from.”
28-29 That provoked Jesus, who was teaching in the Temple, to cry out, “Yes, you think you know me and where I’m from, but that’s not where I’m from. I didn’t set myself up in business. My true origin is in the One who sent me, and you don’t know him at all. I come from him—that’s how I know him. He sent me here.”
30-31 They were looking for a way to arrest him, but not a hand was laid on him because it wasn’t yet God’s time. Many from the crowd committed themselves in faith to him, saying, “Will the Messiah, when he comes, provide better or more convincing evidence than this?”
32-34 The Pharisees, alarmed at this seditious undertow going through the crowd, teamed up with the high priests and sent their police to arrest him. Jesus rebuffed them: “I am with you only a short time. Then I go on to the One who sent me. You will look for me, but you won’t find me. Where I am, you can’t come.”
35-36 The Jews put their heads together. “Where do you think he is going that we won’t be able to find him? Do you think he is about to travel to the Greek world to teach the Jews? What is he talking about, anyway: ‘You will look for me, but you won’t find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you can’t come’?”The word, teach (didasko in Greek), is defined as to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses. Jesus in the passage is back at the Temple teaching and reinterpreting the Hebrew Scriptures for the people, which upset the religious leaders (as usual).
Today I sit, hold, and pray with the word, teach. I remember a literature teacher who changed my way of looking at the world, Prof. Duras. There were three books in the class that really shook me: Bluest Eye, Ceremony, And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. She pushed us to learn about other cultures and perspectives and leave our comfort zones. In the same way, after my first crisis of faith, I was challenged and taught by my liberal and Queer friends to relook at the Christian Bible and Christianity through scholarship and my own eyes. Thus began the road to where I am now.
I wonder what kind of teacher I am now as a minister. I hope that I am like Jesus reinterpreting Scripture for the benefit and love of people and NOT for tradition or laws or the elite. What kind of teacher are you?