Lent 2011 - The Jesus Interruption
Each week of this season, we will be entering into the experience of an individual whose life was interrupted by an encounter with Jesus. This week - John the Baptist (John 1:19-23).
“Who are you?” they asked.
And John answered by telling them who he was not. Why would he have started there?
Did he know that they were wondering, curious about the coming of Christ and eager to have either confirmation or contradiction? And just to set the record straight and make sure they got started off on the right foot, he answers a question that they really didn’t ask.
They didn’t say, “Are you the Messiah?” They just said, “Who are you?”
“Well I’m not Christ, if that’s what you’re thinking. And before you go too much further, let me lay down a few more disclaimers: I’m not Elijah, or Moses, or Spongebob Squarepants, either.”
John does not allow even a moment of assumption to go by unchallenged. The case of John v. Jesus began during the lifetimes of the two, and went on for years after their deaths; disciples of one arguing against disciples of the other as to the question of which one of them had been the Messiah.
How much of what you believe about Jesus is assumption? How much of what the church says and does starts with assumption?
If we simply assume that we know who Christ is, we may be so guarded against that-which-is-not-our-assumption that when new revelation dawns, we may very well not recognize it, or even reject it. Like we did to John himself. And, it cannot go without saying, like we did to Jesus.
Question assumptions, and faith lives. Allow assumptions to remain, and faith withers away. Disillusionment is a good thing, when the illusion is subsequently replaced with truth.