What I’m Thinking: Discounting Prophets

Some of Jesus’ contemporaries were able to dismiss his ministry and that of John the Baptist for quite different reasons. We are much the same.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about two sayings of Jesus – fairly well known sayings – that are found in the eleventh chapter of Matthew Gospel (Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30). The editors of the Revised Common Lectionary have paired them for this coming Sunday’s reading, even though they aren’t very closely related even though they are in the same chapter.

The chapter begins with some disciples of John the Baptist coming from John to ask about Jesus’ ministry and if Jesus is, in fact, the person that John had proclaimed him to be: the one coming from God. After they leave, Jesus begins to speak about John’s ministry, and he makes this startling comparison with children playing a game, a song that apparently went, “We piped, but you did not dance.”

John, said Jesus, came and he wasn’t an eater or a drinker, and people said he had a demon. But now Jesus and his ministry had come, and he did in fact eat and drink, and people said that he was a drunkard and hung out with sinners.

The other selection is that probably even more famous saying where Jesus talks about his yoke being easy and his burden being light. When I think about that latter part, I think to myself that that’s not always been my experience as a follower of Jesus. I have found that some of the things that I have understood Jesus to be asking me to do have been rather burdensome indeed. Those things, however, typically happen when my accustomed comfort, when my typical privilege, has to be set aside, has to be given up. Those times happen when I’m supposed to extend myself in ways that are, well, uncomfortable or unfamiliar. Then, yes, the burden begins to feel like an appreciable one.

But it is also true that for people who are already burdened, the summons to follow Jesus comes as a relief, as a time when burdens are taken away, as freedom.

It’s funny how the word of God comes to us and if we are among the comfortable, as Jesus’ critics and John’s critics mostly were, well, then we will find a reason to discount the word. Oh, look, the person bearing these words: they live a simple, frugal life. There’s got to be something wrong with them. Oh, look, they come and they behave much like a normal person! We can ignore them, can’t we?

It’s not the behavior of the messengers of God. It’s our comfort. It is our selfishness and greed, and all too frequently for me, at least, pride that allows us so easily to dismiss those who summon us to something greater.

So my advice for this week is to listen well and to set that pride and greed and comfort aside, and then indeed you may find that the yoke is easy and the burden is light.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on June 29, 2020

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google del.icio.us Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Leave a Reply

close window

Service Times & Directions

Sunday School Classes

Sunday 8:45 am

Sunday Worship Service

Sunday 10:00 am

Adult Bible Study

Monday 6:30 pm, Wednesday 9:00 am

(International Young Adults Association)
Bible Study

Wednesday 7:30 pm

The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga

(The Rev. Tevita) Sunday 1:00 pm Wednesday 7:00 pm (Sanctuary)

The United Church of Christ, Pohnpei - Hilo

(The Rev. Ichiro) Sunday 10:00 am (Bdg. of Faith)

The Samoan Church

(The Rev. Sunia) Sunday 4:00 pm (Sanctuary)

440 W. Lanikaula Street
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 935-1283