The 10th day of Advent, Week 2
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Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Is Knowing Any Better? 120411
In the book of Mark today Jesus quips back and forth with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders. This group would have possessed considerable learning and practice in the religious texts of Judaism, in the law of Moses and the Prophets. For them to even bother talking with Jesus is amazing, since Jesus was probably an illiterate, transitory working class peasant and not at all one worthy of such an intellectual exchange.
But Jesus asks the question that eventually must be answered. Is knowing exactly who or what Jesus is as important as learning the amazing and continually profound depth of his teaching. Jesus eventually needs no explanation; what Jesus teaches establishes its own worth.
Eventually, one can appreciate and love Jesus for the spirituality of his teachings. It is not just Jesus as messiah, or even Jesus as political scientist, or Jesus as economist. Instead it is Jesus speaking to us and teaching us the truth about God and about our own relationship with God.
I don’t really completely understand who Jesus is, and I may never know. In the meantime I’ll try to understand what Jesus says to me.
Pray for peace (of this we’re sure)
1Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin. Selah
8Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
13Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
24I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land.
25I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. 28Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
27Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him 28and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?” 29Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.” 31They argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?” —they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. 33So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.