September 27, 2016
One thing is certain in our world today; people are divided. Politicians are divided. The media is divided. Religions are divided. Goodness, who would have ever thought that whether to stand or not during our National Anthem would be a dividing issue? I found it interesting that Olympian Usain Bolt stopped an interview with an American reporter calling her attention to the music/medal ceremony. He stood there, giving attention and respect to our anthem…and he’s not even from this country. Interesting indeed. From the Liberal Progressives to the Constitutional Conservatives, from the Black Lives Matters to our local police forces, our nation is divided. And as a pastor of a Lutheran congregation, I recognize there is division even within our church body…and other bodies of Lutheranism. Has it always been like this? Seems like someone has hit the fast forward button on division and immorality in the name of tolerance.
Chapter 7 of John’s gospel reminds me that Jesus, the Son of God in the flesh, the Savior of the World, was (and is) a dividing figure. As I read through this chapter I’m not so surprised to read that the Jewish leaders didn’t want Jesus around. In fact, they wanted Him dead. But I am surprised, and maybe you are too, at the division between Jesus and His brothers. They reveal their will for Jesus (vv. 3-5). They didn’t really believe in the things He was saying.
Furthermore, I see this division spreading to the crowds of people. Some thought Jesus was a good man while others thought He was a deceiver. Some even called Jesus, “demon-possessed.” (v. 20)
The chapter rolls on with examples of division and unbelief. However, I find encouraging words in v. 31. Once again their faith is connected to the miraculous signs they are seeing; signs that are showing Jesus is the Messiah. Because I know how John’s gospel ends, I know the importance of the miraculous signs recorded in his book about Jesus’ life. But until then, I’ll just marvel at each of the miracles Jesus does and be inspired by the Holy Spirit in each of the teachings Jesus gives about Himself.
I see division all around me in this world. And yet there is unity. Unfortunately, the unity is not something to brag about. All people are unified in being sinners. All people. But One has come, Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, to bring a different division and unity for us. He separates us from the eternal consequence of sin and unifies us to the love of God the Father and to one another by Grace through Faith in Him.
After all, ultimate hope for me, our nation, and for the world, is not found in the donkey or the elephant, but in the Lamb!
PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, forgive me when I question Your will. It is because of my ignorance and conceit. Yet, humble me, to accept Your Word in Scripture and to relish in the Truth that Jesus has ushered in Light, Hope, Truth and, ultimately, Salvation, for all who believe. Amen.”