lines crossed | John 10.31-33
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” John 10.31-33 | ESV
That got them looking for rocks again to stone him.
“Wait a minute!” Jesus yells at them, “I put so many beautiful, wondrous deeds straight from the Father’s heart on display right before your eyes. So…which one of those are you stoning me for, again?”
“It’s not about anything you’ve done it’s what you’ve said,” they snarled. “Miracles are one thing, arrogant, presumptuous talk about a mere man being God – you making yourself out to be God on earth! – well that’s something else entirely, and no amount of ‘good works’ erases such blasphemy!” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
I love this.
They think Jesus has crossed the line when they’re the ones whose lines are crossed.
We can be such blockheads.
We listen to the snake hanging from the tree, totally biting on his sales pitch as if it were wisdom personified, and then we threaten to stone Divine Wisdom truly personified when he stands before us in temple courts.
“Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?” queried Job as he sat in the ashes of his life with three friends who tried to comfort him in his loss by telling him what a sinner he was. They were so certain they were in and Job was out; that they were on the right frequency while Job was tone deaf.
With ears as effective as tastebudless tongues.
In any communication, any message, any presumed hearing, how do we know?
How do we know it’s God?
How do we know it’s not just us, just our imagination, just our “hearing” what we want to hear?
How do we know it’s not just our culture, our generation’s deeply ingrained voice within us?
How do we know it’s not in fact a message with a point of origin from darker realms?
It’s enough to paralyze us at each intersection of communication.
Is it this? or is it that?
“Prove all things,” says the apostle, “hold on to what is good, keep your distance from anything that turns up rotten.”
And that’s precisely what sheep do, Jesus tells us.
Unfortunately he doesn’t provide us with a formula that tells us how to go from blockhead to sheep in ten easy steps.
He provides us with a painful, long process of ears being dug in our blockheads, and then of hard hearts of stone amazingly, agonizingly removed from our chests and a fresh, malleable heart being inserted in its place.
But through it, comes hope.
Recognition begins to dawn upon us.
We begin to look beyond the appearance of the tree to the actual nature of the fruit.
We look beyond the face of things to His heart in all things.
And like the sheep, we begin to know.
We begin to hear.
We smell wolf breath through a draped over fleece.
And however he may come to us, however he might look this time, when the Shepherd appears, we hear and we run.
Right into his arms.
How do you personally discern the difference between what is God’s voice and what is merely mans? Between what is light and what is darkness? How do you know?
Good Shepherd, anoint me with sheepish wisdom that never hears the Shepherd in the wolf, or the wolf in the Shepherd. Dig me ears, O God. Dig me ears. Through Christ.