Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sneaky Jesus

We have looked at the humor of Jesus on a couple of previous Sunday mornings.  As you read today's title you may have thought, "Vanilla is veering into deep waters, and perhaps waters he won't be able to navigate."  That's okay; I rather wondered about that myself.

Yet I submit that Jesus on occasion used a sort of subterfuge, not dishonesty, in the course of his interactions with others.  We see the earliest of these interactions when Jesus at age twelve, "sneaked" away from his parents, Joseph and Mary, at the time of Passover and let them head on home without him.  Jesus lingered in the temple to talk with and teach the scholars of the law.  When she found him, Jesus to his distressed mother said, "Don't you know that I must be about my Father's business?"  (Luke 2)
jesus preaching temple young boy

Yet the most striking of these incidents in my opinion is recorded in the Gospel of John chapter seven where we hear Jesus telling his brothers (who were not believers) at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles "Go on up to Jerusalem.  I will stay here for it is not yet my time."   Further he said, "It is always your time."  Shortly thereafter Jesus  goes into Jerusalem himself, undercover in a manner of speaking.

I think Jesus's use of the phrase "it is not yet my time" is interesting.  I think this is similar to the statement by the boy Jesus to his mother in the temple when he said, "Don't you know that I must be about my Father's business?"  Or yet the occasion at the wedding feast in Cana when he told his mother his time had not yet come.  In each of these three instances Jesus knew what those surrounding him did not.  I think he knew that it was not yet time, but yet I think he did not know exactly when that time would be, that he would recognize it when it came.

So we go with him to Jerusalem where we see him inserting himself into the crowd.  Then as the feast progresses Jesus appears in the Temple and begins to teach and testify of himself, that he is sent from the Father.  There were some who would have taken him but none laid a hand on him "because his time was not yet come."

In the eighth chapter we see Jesus teaching on the Mount of Olives where a woman taken in adultery was brought to him by the religious leaders, brought to him for confirmation of the stoning judgment.  Jesus, sneaky Jesus, said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone," bent and wrote with his finger on the earth.  We know not what he wrote, but when he looked up the woman's accusers were gone.

Later in chapter eight Christ reveals the promise:
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. --(KJV)
Then finally as the unbelievers sought stones with which to pelt him, Jesus hid himself and slipped out of the temple even through the midst of the throng.  How's that for a disappearing act?

His time was not yet come.

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