Readings: Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Judges 13:2-24; John 7:40-52
When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?”…Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them (Pharisees), asked, “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.” John 7:40-41, 50-52 NRSV
Every so often, someone looks different from what his or her voice sounds like. Or, more truthfully, the picture I have in my mind of the person who belongs to the voice doesn’t match the person who actually has that voice. Of course the person and voice do match – it’s just the image I’ve created for the voice that’s off the mark. But it’s surprising how powerfully my preconceived image objects to correction.
Are the people in today’s passage having the same problem? Do they have a preconceived image of a Messiah that doesn’t want to be corrected by reality? In this case, it isn’t a mismatched voice: it’s an incorrect home address. Are some zip codes holier than others?
Whenever this mismatch happens, it comes with a choice: do I choose to reshape my idea around the reality God has given me or do I attempt to bend or deny reality until it fits my idea?
Dear God, give me enough courage and humility to recognize your prophets…and enough wisdom to see you in the face of Jesus. Amen.
Bruce Cockburn, Soul of a Man, Nothing But a Burning Light, (available on iTunes)