Christ is risen!
It was both amusing and, yes, a bit hurtful. We were having an argument. It was one of those arguments that got real personal real fast.
You know the kind of arguments between people who are family and think they really know each other well. Well, my relative did know me well a few decades ago but had really lost touch with me as I became a more mature man and even now a Greek Orthodox priest. As he spoke to me harshly I was amused by the person he thought I was. He thought I was still that impetuous Pentecostal boy that preached on the street and made outlandish claims about spiritual experiences all to wow the congregation with his deep spiritual experiences. And he wailed away at that boy with everything he had not realizing I was no longer that young man. He didn’t know me at all anymore even though he was convinced he did.
Let’s just say the discussion ended when I told him he was attacking someone who no longer existed and when I saw how confused he was by that statement, I knew the conversation was really over. I tried my best to reintroduce myself to this relative, but he would have nothing of it. He insisted I stay as he remembered me, and I refused. We parted badly, unfortunately.
Look at our lesson today in John 6:40-44:
The Lord said to the Jews who believed in him: “This is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Jesus faced the religious leaders and even His own hometown folks with the truth that He was the Messiah they had all been told for centuries to expect. And they simply couldn’t believe it. It reminds me of a story I once heard about a piece of furniture that our Lord and Joseph had made when the Lord was helping in the carpenter’s shop. A local, Christian family had this piece in their humble home and they obviously treated it with great reverence and respect. Imagine, if you will, having a table or a chair that was built by St. Joseph with the Lord’s help!
But that same reality also made the Lord look like just one of the “local boys” in the eyes of many who couldn’t bring themselves to think of Someone they had watched grow up in the town be Who they had expected for centuries. It all depended on what a person was willing to humbly or not so humbly accept.
And that reality revealed the hearts of everyone there! It still does the same thing today. The message of the true identity of Jesus reveals my heart to myself and your heart to yourself and our hearts to everyone else around us. How we react to the revelation of God in the flesh tells us about ourselves, and that, dearest, is valuable information IF we are humble enough to learn from it!
Some in the Lord’s day were not and they remained gripped by the all too small vision of the Lord in their own hearts. That vision made sure Jesus was still that little boy Who helped Joseph around the shop and always walked close to His mother when they were outside. All they could see what what their too small faith allowed them to see so that Jesus remained “safe” and unthreatening to their world. And Jesus knew this as well, and He told them so. But that offered them little comfort because His answer to them revealed them to be so blind they made it obvious they were completely disconnected from Him.
Today, what does your heart reveal to you about you? Are you willing to learn that important information. By God’s grace allow the gentle Holy Spirit to teach you about yourself so that Christ can draw you to Himself for your salvation and you’ll be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. Have you seen the results from our latest survey? It seems there are many of you who want more videos! I think that’s a splendid idea. We are working on it. Help us!