Jesus is hard to understand because we have so many filters. That’s why children find it easier.
I think of this chapter as about the filters, and Jesus showing us how great love, grace and relationships are designed to be when the filters are stripped away.
Because God is relational. 3 in one. Here it’s like Jesus is constantly texting the father.
John the Baptist gets wind of Jesus’ ministry in prison. His disciples ask Jesus if he’s it, is there something else?
No hint of motives. Was John gently directing his disciples towards Jesus’? Was he disappointed? Was Jesus more low-key than he expected?
No hint either of whether John was satisfied by the answer. It makes no difference because Jesus knows what he is doing. He simply announces what has been described an extra beatitude:
Blessed are those who are not offended by me
John is the last and greatest prophet, but that way of knowing God is a filter. The commentary said it’s like the brightest night is still darker than the dullest day. With Jesus, a new day has come.
And Jesus let’s fly at those who try to build their own comprehension to suit themselves, on top of partial revelation. He calls it a violent raid on the kingdom of God.
When fuller revelation and understanding is freely available, religious practices and other theories of knowledge can perversely operate to obscure God.
I think.. it’s a tricky passage!
Jesus comments on the spin people put on him and John… That John was too hard and critical and Jesus is too lush and compromised by mixing with corrupt people. Watch this space, he says: “wisdom is proved right by its deeds”.
He gets really angry about the towns, including his home that saw lot of miracles but were indifferent.
That’s when he does a check-in with the father in prayer, and mollifies his anger by rejoicing at what a leveller god’s love is.
Some of the simplest people get it from the smallest hint, and some of the most sophisticated struggle to grasp it when it’s right under their noses. And that’s how God likes it to be. You’ve got to strip away the baggage and unlearn.
He talks about the open and filter-free relationship he has with the father. And then he invites us in.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”v 28-30
His anger with the indifferent towns is ultimately the frustration of compassion for them. The way of struggle and complexity, of reaching forward in the dark like the prophets, or following leaders who are as blind as you are, they are gone. We can come direct to Jesus. The “message” translation called it the unforced rhythms of grace.
There is work to be done, sure, but relatively Jesus’ work it’s like rest from the struggle of not knowing Jesus.
His claims are astonishing. If you want to regard him simply as a great teacher, he is preposterously arrogant. He claims to be gentle and lowly of heart, …and able to choose who will know God.
It only works if he is God. If so, yes, God is humble, gentle, inviting us in, freely sacrificing himself so we know simple, abundant love.
All kind of sad and wintry here. I applied for some jobs yesterday. Its all in God’s hands.