John 7: 40-53Introductory Prayer:
Christ, you are the most open-spirited person in history. You are open to all who sincerely seek you. So I seek you now, Lord, through this meditation. I hunger for your friendship and grace. I love you, but I long for my love to grow so I can be ever closer to you and more and more like you. Send me wisdom and understanding, the gifts of your Spirit, so that when the world tries to convince me that following you is folly and deception, I may hold firm to my beliefs and my love for you.Petition:
Lord, touch my heart deeply with your Word. Open my heart to you, help me to make my home in your Word.1. The attractiveness of openness and sincerity are Convincing:
Just some moments prior, Christ has spoken of himself as living water (v. John 7:38), and some in the crowd react much the same way as did the Samaritan woman at the well. At first they thought of him as a prophet, but now they begin to believe that he is the Messiah. “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me…” (John 6:37). Even the temple guards could not bring themselves to arrest him, so compelling were his words. Christ tells his apostles not to prepare any words in their defense when they are dragged before judges and magistrates (Cf. Mark 13:11). Living in the truth is our best preparation for communicating it in a compelling way.2. Obstinacy in Willful blindness:
Leads to error Error and malice. The leaders however, as Nicodemus points out, are not even willing to encounter Christ and hear him out. Their obstinacy leads them to error: “Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” (What about Jonah and Hosea?) It also leads them to malice: They are not even willing to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt that he simply might have been delusional about his identity; instead, pushed by jealousy, they have already made up their minds to accuse him of willful deception. Do I knowingly and willingly shy away from the truth, any truth? Do I realize where this could lead me?3. The truth will set you free:
The truth is often difficult to swallow. In particular, the truth about Christ in relation to my life —He is my Lord, He is my Redeemer, He deserves my all— seems somehow fanatic, irrational, and unnatural in a world which values technological progress, political correctness, and looking-out-for-number-one. But Christians worthy of the name, in all centuries and in all walks of life, have discovered that believing in the person of Jesus Christ, who meant every word he said, is an experience of real freedom. It is a freedom from the dead-end world of materialism, sin and death. It is a freedom to live a life of love, truly human and divine, a love like Christ’s love for me, up to death on a Cross!Conversation with Christ:
Lord, no one has ever spoken like you. You have given us your Word in the gospels. I realize that I need to have much more frequent contact with your words so as to free me from my blindness. Let my understanding of your Word never serve me as an occasion of vainglory or arrogance, rather as a tool to help others come to know you better.Resolution:
I will break down a prejudice that I still harbor in my heart against some aspect of Christ’s message.