Reacting to Jesus

Almost every day since we got Jada, I've read to her from the Bible,
starting from the beginning (literally) and plowing right on through.
Almost fifteen months later, I'm into the New Testament. By the end
of the week, I will have finished the book of John.

Reading through like this has been fun, especially as I'm now on the
fourth of four gospels. I'm struck as I read these accounts of Jesus'
life of how preposterous it must have been to take this man at face
value. Usually, we Christians roll our eyes at the disciples'
bumbling ways or the Pharisee's hardened ways - how could they not see
that this was the Son of God?

Yet neither group had the benefit that we have, of knowing the whole
story from beginning to end. At the moment, all they had in front of
them was a man, albeit a miracle-working and wonderfully compassionate
one. Still, how could it be that a mere man was claiming to be the
Son of God, to be one with the Father, to be as the Father?

Like the disciples, I find myself reacting to Jesus' words with a
confused, dumbfounded face - what the heck does he mean? Like the
Pharisees, I find myself reacting to Jesus' words with an angry, cold
heart - how dare he make such an outlandish claim! The few people
Jesus does encounter who respond with faith and welcome, I find I can
scarcely relate to.

Thankfully, I was not there when Jesus was in the flesh; instead, my
crossroads with him comes at a point in history when I can consider
the whole of his story. Thankfully, also, God is at work to enlighten
me where I am dumb and thaw me where I am frigid, that I may have
insight and acceptance where I might not otherwise.

Still, while we are not likely to encounter Jesus in the flesh today
as those in his time did, we are confronted with moments nontheless,
to believe or doubt, to embrace or scorn. God is still working on my
heart to choose the way of faith and acceptance and not of unbelief
and rejection. He is preparing me for the day I will be face to face
with Jesus, that I might react appropriately: with worship and
thanksgiving and relief and joy.

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