“Oh, Waitress…?”

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“She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12

Ok today’s blog is a ride on my thought train. WOOOOOooooWOOOOOO! So prepare yourself for some seemingly unrelated random thoughts that all somehow connect toward the end.

Glass of water...

Okay. I want you to look at that glass of water in the picture above… Study it for a moment. Now, what is your perception? Is it half empty? Half full?
My personal thought process is that by the time the waitress comes back around, I’m going to need a refill….”Oh, waitress…?” I call myself a realist. My husband might say I’m a pessimistic realist; I see things as they are, but when making my assessment on the next move to be made, I tend to look at the worst case scenario, so as to be prepared if the bottom drops out.

Throughout the season of Lent, the devotional I’ve been reading has me reading 1 chapter of Mark every Thursday and Friday. Today was Mark 12. There was a particular verse in that chapter that struck me as I was reading, and I had to chuckle a little. It was in Mark 12:12, right after Jesus told the Parable of the Tenants:

“Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.” (Mark 12:12)

So the Triumphal Entry had just taken place and Jesus was teaching in the temple courts of Jerusalem. The very same people who would at a later point be giving false testimony against Jesus were now listening attentively to his parables, and singing his praises. If that’s not enough of a kicker for you, take a closer look at verse 12! Rather than be convicted by Jesus’ words toward them, the priests and teachers of the law were offended to the point of just looking for a way to arrest Jesus. HE HADN’T DONE ANYTHING WRONG!!! It was simply that they didn’t approve of his words, and they were too proud to believe that their actions were less than holy. They felt threatened. This insane hubris kept them from an amazing opportunity to preach the witness of Christ! Think about it, if the Pharisees and Sadducees had seen their faults and repented, Christianity would probably not have been nearly such a taboo or persecuted belief system. Instead, they took offense. They were not serving God, they were serving themselves! They denied that Jesus was the Messiah because it wasn’t on their terms. They couldn’t be wrong! They followed all of the laws!… The only problem was that somewhere along the line, it had stopped being about God, and had started being about their own convenience; their pride, their “obedience.”

One of my all-time favorite pieces of philosophy comes from Augustine, when he talks about ordo amoris, or the order of loves. He says that evil springs from our improper valuing of things, rather than the things themselves. He calls this “felix culpa” or a happy fault. Augustine submitted that the turn inward toward love of self was in itself evil. All natures are essentially good. Not the things themselves, but rather our inordinate desire for them is what makes them evil. I wish I hadn’t sold back my Philosophy 101 text-book because I took wonderful notes in the margins… But basically from the scribbles that remain in my notebook, I noted that this ordo amoris was the basic flaw with the Sadducees and Pharisees. It wasn’t that they didn’t love or respect God, it’s just that they put him after their own authority, after their own vanity, after their own hubris, after their own glorification… They failed to put God as their one and only, and from that point on, their loves were super out of whack.

If they were in fact true followers of God, they would have humbled themselves before Christ. They would have seen that they were in fact wrong (Matthew 6:1-8) and they would have repented, and followed Christ, as opposed to looking for a way to justify their selfish actions by arresting an innocent man and accusing him falsely.

They weren’t looking at the glass and seeing it for what it was; a glass of water. They were all caught up in varying perceptions and pride, too concerned with WHO was right rather than WHAT was right. It goes on to say in Mark that they kept trying to ask Jesus trick questions, to get him to say something that broke the law of the Old Testament. But he never did. It says in Mark 12:17 that when Jesus answered their question about paying taxes to Caesar, “they were amazed at him.” Not amazed enough to admit they were wrong, apparently. Mark 14:55, “The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.” That is outrageous to me! They are so bent on stopping Jesus from teaching that they are wrong, that they stoop to false testimony! But even then, none of them line up! In the end, they “get” Jesus on a charge of “blasphemy” because he said, “I am” (Mark 14:62) What really gets me is that Pilate couldn’t see that Jesus had done anything. So he turned Jesus over to the people and what did they do? Those bloodthirsty sinners released a convicted criminal over the Son of God! What the what!?!? Pilate says in verse 14, “Why? What crime has he committed?” but the crowd just shouted louder and louder to crucify Jesus.

I wish someone would draw a Meme about Jesus’ trial and crucifixion and resurrection. Because at the end of it, I’d like to see a drawing of all the Jews doing a “face palm” or Homer Simpson’s “DOH!” when they see Jesus walking around for a week after his resurrection with nail scarred hands and feet. I can’t imagine how foolish Thomas felt when he finally touched the wounds of Christ… Or how foolish Mary Magdalene felt after she assumed Jesus was the gardener. Did these people really know Him at all!?!? How blind could you be not to recognize the man you say you believed in and followed? I keep reading about people mistaking his identity, or wanting proof that it really was Jesus resurrected. I’m wondering what changed between the way Jesus looked before his execution and the way he looked after the resurrection. How did they not see his face and know instantly he was Jesus? Something isn’t computing there, and I’d like someone’s opinion or information if they have any on the subject…

Anyway, that’s my thought train for today. I’m consistently amazed at the sheer foolishness of humanity, both that of people in Biblical times, and currently. It’s enough to make you “face palm” every time you get to that section of the Gospel. In my Bible, I’ve actually written in the margins in some places the word, “Seriously!?” because I find it that difficult to swallow that people could have been so blind. I suppose I can’t complain because I know it was all a part of God’s plan for our salvation and that Jesus had to die for us to be ransomed. Still… I’ll never stop being amazed and disgusted by the “unbelieving generation.”

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5 responses »

  1. Very good, you write very well and sound a lot like my Pastor when he gives his sermon. He could and has gotten very “passionate” about this subject. For a Lutheran Pastor to get excited during the sermon is very unusual in our denomination, but Kuhlman is one of a kind. I think that’s why he has a radio show, an audio blog and the seminary secretly wants him and he wants to stay with us. So he placates them by sending his sermons and adult bible lessons. We don’t want to lose him because he thinks like you do.

    • Thank you! I’m flattered. And I hope your pastor gets to stay with you for as long as God calls him to! 🙂 Our lead pastor, Chris is leaving in June. It’s bittersweet. I’ll miss him, but at the same time, He feels God is calling him to lead in other places, and I wish him the best.

  2. Great post!

    I think it’s a matter of the heart when the light of Christ illuminates the darkest corners of our heart, which is what he was doing…and which he still does. Instead of an honest, godly response, pride and fear raised their ugly heads and the reaction instead was one of anger at being exposed, and wanting to quiet this man who was laying their hearts bare in public. The difference between the reactions of the woman at the well, and the rich young ruler, for instance…one was forgiven and free, the other, went away sad, because the one thing he held above God was his wealth.

    As for trusting, I go through seasons, and I find it much easier to walk by sight. It’s a real test of faith to believe what you don’t see, but what you know to be true, because of His word.

  3. Eden,
    This may not answer your question about “why they had such a hard time recognizing Jesus”, but for instance Lk. 24:16, on the road to Emmaus…”they were kept from recognizing him”. Then Lk. 24:32…”were not our hearts burning with us while he talked…” Lk. 24:37…”they were startled and frightened”. Keep in mind after the crucifixion they scattered and went underground in fear for their lives. I think I would have been in shock also. Although Jesus told them what would have to happen it was too horrible for them to digest. On the other hand, we on this side of the cross have no excuse for our lack of belief and obedience. We have the inspired word of God and history to back it up. We just have to contend for the faith and spread the gospel until His return. Maranatha!

  4. One reason they might have failed to recognize Him is that they were SO focused on themselves that they didn’t have open eyes to see how He was working in their lives or in the world. Oftentimes in my life I’ve found that when I am either selfish or too preoccupied to see His work in my life or His purpose in the world, then I fail to SEE Him at work in everything!

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