Have you ever seen a disagreeing situation, where a debate has ensued and one person suddenly runs out of things to support their argument so they digress and resort to name calling? In the heat of the moment, If we can’t support our position with facts, then we resort to attacking the person rather than the issue at hand. In the political area, this is common. On the playground at school, this is common. But at church???
The religious leaders have run out of things to say, so they return to merely attacking the Truth of the Person of Jesus Christ.
John 8, The Message
I Am Who I Am
48 The Jews then said, “That clinches it. We were right all along when we called you a Samaritan and said you were crazy—demon-possessed!”
49-51 Jesus said, “I’m not crazy. I simply honor my Father, while you dishonor me. I am not trying to get anything for myself. God intends something gloriously grand here and is making the decisions that will bring it about. I say this with absolute confidence. If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to look death in the face.”
52-53 At this point the Jews said, “Now we know you’re crazy. Abraham died. The prophets died. And you show up saying, ‘If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to face death, not even a taste.’ Are you greater than Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you think you are!”
54-56 Jesus said, “If I turned the spotlight on myself, it wouldn’t amount to anything. But my Father, the same One you say is your Father, put me here at this time and place of splendor. You haven’t recognized him in this. But I have. If I, in false modesty, said I didn’t know what was going on, I would be as much of a liar as you are. But I do know, and I am doing what he says. Abraham—your ‘father’—with jubilant faith looked down the corridors of history and saw my day coming. He saw it and cheered.”
57 The Jews said, “You’re not even fifty years old—and Abraham saw you?”
58 “Believe me,” said Jesus, “I am who I am long before Abraham was anything.”
59 That did it—pushed them over the edge. They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple.
What do we learn from Jesus in this final round of debate versus Jesus with Truth confronting the religious leaders?
–We learn the essence of expressing the Truth through unconditional Love, “If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to look death in the face.” (You can be in on this, too!)
–Pure motivation with facts, “I am not trying to get anything for myself.”
–Consistently referring back to God, “If I turned the spotlight on myself, it wouldn’t amount to anything. But my Father, the same One you say is your Father, put me here at this time and place of splendor.”
What do our responses look like when trying to convince others of the love of God? I’m meditating on this as I write, for I’m convinced my witness of Christ can always be better. It’s never about me and ALL about God.
Dear Heavenly Father, Help us to know when to speak, when to be silent, and when to walk away and wait for a better time, Your time. May we speak Truth with all the Love we have in hearts for You. You are God, You save, we only point the way to You. Help us to remember that. May we never resort to name calling or tearing one another down. In Jesus Name, Amen