“Lord, I flinch and pray, send thy necessity.” — Wendell Berry

Isaiah 55:1-13 (esp. 7-11)
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Jeremiah 9:23-24

A few things to keep in mind: 1) we don’t understand what Jesus is doing, 2) but we think we do; 3) he knows what he’s doing, and 4) he’ll accomplish his father’s purposes despite us.

Let’s start with history. In the desert, the Hebrews couldn’t see the promised land, but God did. He got them there, even though they thought he’d lost his mind.

When Jesus showed up, the Jews expected a messiah of a different sort. He wasn’t William Wallace. Where was their MacArthur, their Patton?

Jesus confounded his disciples. They spent three years with him, day and night, and they understood only after he returned from the tomb.

Men of every age tend to privilege their historical vantage point: “We’ve seen the past, and we’ve risen above it. We’re more civilized. We possess greater understanding, and we’ve evolved. We won’t botch it as our ancestors did.”

If we learn anything, let us learn that we don’t know everything. We don’t see it all. To think we do only stifles our learning. We paint our own caricature of Jesus, and we miss him when he doesn’t match it exactly. He seldom matches it.

Yet we still think we can contain him, his ways and his plans in pocket. We know what’s best for the Middle East, and we certainly know where he stands on that issue. We’re certain we know when he’ll show up again, though he said that even he doesn’t know. We know his politics, and we know for certain that he’s a capitalist. Right?

The story of the twelve replays itself in our lives. We betray him as Judas did, misunderstand his values as James and John did, and deny him as Peter did.

Our puny minds can’t grasp everything here and now. God didn’t have that plan in the garden. We’re the ones who ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Let us not presume upon a God whose ways and thoughts exceed ours.

Let’s not lose hope, either. Jesus worked with the twelve. He didn’t give up, but kept teaching them. He kept re-creating these boys who stumbled every day. He focused on a purpose with them, and he does with us.

His father sent him with a job to do, and he doesn’t plan to go home without seeing it through.

Do we believe there’s mystery inherent in God?
Have your ways, even those you thought were his, ever conflicted with his?
Does anything Jesus says ever startle you?  What and why? 


© 2006