Today’s Lenten Word Meditation comes from John 7:37-52 The Message Bible:
37-39 On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)
40-44 Those in the crowd who heard these words were saying, “This has to be the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah!” But others were saying, “The Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? Don’t the Scriptures tell us that the Messiah comes from David’s line and from Bethlehem, David’s village?” So there was a split in the crowd over him. Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.
45 That’s when the Temple police reported back to the high priests and Pharisees, who demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him with you?”
46 The police answered, “Have you heard the way he talks? We’ve never heard anyone speak like this man.”
47-49 The Pharisees said, “Are you carried away like the rest of the rabble? You don’t see any of the leaders believing in him, do you? Or any from the Pharisees? It’s only this crowd, ignorant of God’s Law, that is taken in by him—and damned.”
50-51 Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee, spoke up. “Does our Law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?”
52-53 But they cut him off. “Are you also campaigning for the Galilean? Examine the evidence. See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee.”
Today’s word, stand (histemi in Greek), is defined as to cause or make to stand; to place, put, set. Jesus is back in Jerusalem with his family for the Festival of Booths celebration. There in the Temple, he takes a stand against the religious leaders.
I sit, hold, and pray with the word, stand. It reminds me of some ways the people on the street corner declaring Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, but it also reminds me of those who take a stand against the church when it comes to justice, Women’s equality, Queer equality, etc I have seen ministers get kicked out of their denominations. Even in my PCUSA, I have seen people put up on charges who performed Queer marriages before the PCUSA became Queer affirming. I know that taking a stand is a part of our Christian faith, but I also know that there is a price that comes along with it. I look at Jesus who paid the price on the Cross to make his stand for justice and love for others. I wonder if I could pay the price of the Cross like Jesus did. Thank you Jesus for doing so.