On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted,
“All who are thirsty should come to me!
All who believe in me should drink!
As the scriptures said concerning me,
Rivers of living water will flow out from within him.”
Jesus said this concerning the Spirit. Those who believed in him would soon receive the Spirit, but they hadn’t experienced the Spirit yet since Jesus hadn’t yet been glorified.
When some in the crowd heard these words, they said, “This man is truly the prophet.” Others said, “He’s the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ can’t come from Galilee, can he? Didn’t the scripture say that the Christ comes from David’s family and from Bethlehem, David’s village?” So the crowd was divided over Jesus. Some wanted to arrest him, but no one grabbed him.
The guards returned to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked, “Why didn’t you bring him?”
The guards answered, “No one has ever spoken the way he does.”
The Pharisees replied, “Have you too been deceived? Have any of the leaders believed in him? Has any Pharisee? No, only this crowd, which doesn’t know the Law. And they are under God’s curse!”
Nicodemus, who was one of them and had come to Jesus earlier, said, “Our Law doesn’t judge someone without first hearing him and learning what he is doing, does it?”
They answered him, “You are not from Galilee too, are you? Look it up and you will see that the prophet doesn’t come from Galilee.”
As we continue toward the cross, the confrontation between Jesus and the Religious Elite gets more and more hostile. Well, Jesus doesn’t want to kill his opponents (at least, the stories don’t tell us he did). But we can see how the Religious Elite seem more fixated on his death. They seem to try and find anything to justify their actions. And they continue to paint a very black and white picture (and perhaps Jesus does as well).
In the story before us, we see what they really think of their congregations, “They are under G_d’s curse!” If someone doesn’t agree with their positions and interpretations and ideals, well, obviously their cursed by G_d.
Do we think like this? How many of us think that people from other wisdom traditions are really cursed by G_d? Or that they can’t possibly be “saved” and “going to heaven” because they don’t think like we do; because they don’t believe like we do. Heck, some of us even think this about other people within our Christian traditions!
I say this to our shame.
Sometimes some of us become so focused on what we think is right, what we believe to be the only truth, that when G_d speaks to us through others, we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. I remember commenting to a friend about Trevor Hall and he responded, “Too bad he’s going to hell. I really like him.” If you haven’t listened to the music of Trevor, I highly recommend it. I believe he is a poet and prophet for the All-Knowing-One. He speaks about things that Jesus spoke about - non-violence, love for each other, kindness. His love of G_d shines brightly through his music. But, again, many followers of Jesus think him cursed by G_d because he doesn’t follow their dogma and doctrine. I flatly disagree. Trevor is a child of the Most High and my brother.
The Religious Elite of Jesus day didn’t see things this way. They saw things in terms of the tradition they created. If people didn’t follow their way of living, they weren’t G_d’s people. The sad thing is that, because of their hearts and actions, they were the ones not acting like G_d’s people. And they couldn’t even see it.
May G_d help us to see our own limitations and faults so that we may be humble and lift up or sisters and brothers, whatever path they’re on.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+. LC