a new lens

As I was reading through the book of John this afternoon, I stumbled across a familiar story:

 

John 11:47-48

“So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and were saying, ‘What are we going to do since this man is doing many signs? If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away our place and our nation.’”

 

To catch ya’ll up, basically Jesus just raised someone from the dead. Ya, you read that correctly; Lazarus was dead, but Jesus brought him back to life. Pretty rad and amazing if you ask me. So, after Jesus performed this miracle He was gaining a lot of popularity in Israel, which made the government very uneasy. They feared that Jesus’ ever increasing following would cause them to lose all of their power and authority. I remember hearing this story in Sunday school as a little kid. I was convinced that these men were complete evil. The exact people the Bible warns us about: the opposers. The people who are so consumed by themselves that they cannot fathom the idea of anybody having more power than them. In my child brain, I believed these were the people that wanted Jesus dead so that they could maintain their status. But I never gave much thought to one particular perspective when it comes to this story: maybe I am a Pharisee.

 

I don’t mean this literally, I just mean I’m prideful and fear losing control. Isn’t that what they were facing? Instead of putting yourself in the victim’s shoes, try the accuser’s. You are in a position of authority and power where you help maintain the order of society. Suddenly, a random man enters the scene claiming to be the Savior of the world and all of the people under your control start to flee to this man. Sure, the things he’s doing are amazing, but he’s disrupting the order and you don’t want to see everything fall apart into complete chaos. Ever felt like this in your life? Let me put it like this: you are the main figure of authority in your life. You know what’s inside of your head, you have personal passions, dreams, ideas, worries. It’s all inside of you. Everything is in your control. Then, a dude comes along (hint: it’s Jesus) and he says he knows what’s best for you. And then we’re like, “Ummmm, I think I understand myself a lot more than you possibly could so… I’m going to do my own thing.”

 

I know this is all a little silly, but haven’t you found yourself here with God? Haven’t you found yourself going your own way? Ignoring Him? I know I have, because it’s so hard for our brains to conceptualize that some other being knows more about us than we do ourselves.

 

Psalm 139:16

Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned

before a single one of them began.”

 

But guys, He knows our story; He’s the author. Every author knows his characters inside and out because he designed them. It’s the same with God. The Bible says in Psalm 145 that we cannot even fathom His greatness. It is impossible to fully grasp all that He is, and that is perfectly okay. We just have to learn to trust the mystery, instead of ourselves. You see, the Pharisees couldn’t trust the mystery; they only trusted themselves. I’ve done that. They wanted to have the control in their own hands. I’ve felt that way. They wanted Jesus out of the picture because things were too complicated with Him in it. Ya, been there. When I read the Bible, a lot of times I see myself as the victim, but I need to have a real reality check. Sometimes I am the accuser. I’m the villain I was warned about in Sunday School, but I don’t have to be. You don’t have to be. Check out the second part of this verse in John:

 

John 11:49-50

One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all! You’re not considering that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish.”

 

Caiaphas drops a major truth bomb right here to the Pharisees and chief priests. He basically tells them that they are being dumb because Jesus can save everyone for eternity. All they could possibly do is save their flesh (at least, for the time being). We MUST trust in Jesus because He is the only one who can save us; we can’t save ourselves. And, He’s not just a stranger giving us irrelevant advice, He is an intimate friend who knows exactly what we need.

 

I think we all need to start seeing the Bible through a different lens. A lens that highlights some of our faults, instead of just the faults of others. A lens that helps us see ourselves a little more clear, rather than our neighbor. There, I truly believe that we all can learn a little more about loving Him fiercely and trusting His story for us. It’s okay to not always be the good one, we just have to keep learning and keep moving forward.

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