untraceable | John 7.32-36
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?” John 7.32-36 | ESV
When members of the strict sect heard the crowd muttering such things about him, they mustered their courage, priestly authority and strict sect types alike (they didn’t usually get along too well, but now they made an exception), and together sent underlings to set upon him and put a stop to this.
Seeing their maneuverings, Jesus said it plain: “The clock is ticking, my time with you is just about up, and then I’m off to the One who sent me to start with. Oh how you’ll look for me then – and you won’t be able to find a trace of me – you’ll never be able to track me to this destination!”
The local crowd of Judeans were puzzled. They asked each other (having no idea how much they were saying), “Just where does he think he’s going that we can’t find him? What? He’s not off to the scattered remnants of our people among the Greeks, is he – and outsider Greeks won’t be his pupils, will they? What’s he talking about? ‘You’ll look for me, but you won’t be able to find a trace of me,’ and ‘you’ll never be able to track me to this destination’???” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
Jesus is heading in a direction they could not fathom or follow.
And they aren’t the only ones, are they?
Here’s a vocabulary word for the day: ἀνεξιχνίαστος. Let me help you say it: ah-neck-sick-knee-as-toes. Say it slow, then say it fast.
It’s the word Paul uses in his crescendo climax of the carefully reasoned theological treatise we know as Romans: “Oh the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past tracing out.” That’s ah-neck-sick-knee-as-toes. Literally, “untraceable,” something that cannot be figured out, traced out, or diagramed. And it’s where Paul ends up after writing eleven chapters of theology in which he tried to do just that.
We then add libraries of our own to his eleven chapters, trying to trace out what he tried to trace out, but all too often ending with a smug and condescending confidence in our grasp of his steps instead of Paul’s blown away ah-neck-sick-knee-as-toes!
It’s good for us to trace, to try to grasp the steps and mimic them like a novice trying to mimic a world champion dancer. But when all is said and done, it’s the dancer’s performance that captivates us, a dance that we may never figure out, but that inspires us to step out on the floor ourselves and give it a whirl to that same tune –
if we can get over our own muttered critiques that keep us sidelined as judges.
And there’s a basic choice each day: do we want to spend our time as muttering dance judges,
or will allow ourselves to be drawn into the divine dance happening right here and now?
How often do you find yourself paralyzed by trying to figure out what God is doing – or in your disapproval of how and what he is doing – rather than empowered to trust him and step out onto the floor of life with him? How can we break such paralysis and move freely with Him?
Abba, write that word, “untraceable,” down deep in my own heart. As I contemplate you and your movements through this day, deliver me from paralyzing analysis into empowered participation in your unsearchable, untraceable movements and way. Through Jesus.