Jesus and/or Tradition?

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S (Scripture): John 10:22 The time came for the Festival of Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple, walking in the covered porch named for Solomon. 24 The Jewish opposition circled around him and asked, “How long will you test our patience? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, but you don’t believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you don’t believe because you don’t belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life. They will never die, and no one will snatch them from my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them from my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again the Jewish opposition picked up stones in order to stone him. 32 Jesus responded, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of those works do you stone me?”

33 The Jewish opposition answered, “We don’t stone you for a good work but for insulting God. You are human, yet you make yourself out to be God.”

O (Observation): Jesus challenges his opponents once again to share in what manner He has done anything to cause them to want to stone him. He stumps them!

The Jewish leadership at the time felt that Jesus was insulting God. They couldn’t pick out any of Jesus’ actions, so they went for a subjective argument. “You insult God.”

Well, depends on your presuppositions, no? If you assume that your teaching trumps what is right in front of you, then yes, Jesus insults God. But if one were to take a different perspective one might find that Jesus can be the fulfillment of what God was working through.

A (Application): I’ve heard folks say that Jesus is great, even apart from the Old Testament. Well, might I suggest that Jesus is the fulfillment of our God’s thoughts and actions from throughout history – yes, including the Old Testament.

God formed the world and set people to work. They came together and fell apart. They followed God and they didn’t follow God.

Ultimately, God allowed God’s people to do their own thing. After all, God is not in the business of coercing those he loves to follow. As a result God’s people were scattered throughout the Middle East. Their religious center was shifted, but a remnant remained. They carried on the faith and developed quite some number of rules that either they or their ancestors set forth for good order and teaching.

With that in mind, surely Jesus causes feathers to be ruffled. But Jesus is also the reminder that God continues to stick by God’s people. The promises of old start coming into fruition.

The move Jesus makes is to remind God’s people that God has always loved al people. Previously, God showed that love through a certain people: The Jews. Now, God shows the world love in the person of Jesus.

The tradition challenges us. The history makes us think that nothing radical will work. We feel we must keep the institution. And so, we are challenged. Like the Jews of old, we must determine what holds true.

Do we hang solely on tradition? Do we scrap it all and follow Jesus – standing in front of us? Do we try to weave together tradition and our God, Jesus, standing before us today?

May we choose wisely and may God grant us grace.

P (Prayer): Lord, today we continue to pray for all who suffer from loss of life and injury in the wake of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, PA. Amen.

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