I Have Much to Say and Much to JudgeFr. Barnabas Powell
Christ is risen!
One of the best things I’ve ever done in my professional life is work with an executive coach. “What” you may ask “is a priest doing working with a professional coach?” And I’ll be happy to answer you: Communication and Leadership is hard work. It’s hard work because it requires a person to communicate deep and lasting truths to different kinds of people.
Let me give you an example: I HATE clutter. It makes me miserable because it makes me feel like I’m out of control. And yet, I’ve known people who are actually calmed by clutter. It makes them feel “at home.” So, when I’m communicating with these kinds of people, I have to remember that not everyone is like me (thank GOD!) But I’ve caught myself becoming frustrated and even angry before I discipline my passions and I communicate badly to others who don’t think the same way I do. My coach has helped me so much in seeing this and working through this in a professional setting!
Now, imagine the most important Message in the world. Imagine you are called to communicate that Message to everyone. Getting it right means life or death. Pretty heavy responsibility, don’t you think?
Look at our lesson today in John 8:21-30:
The Lord said to the Jews who came to him, “I go away, and you will seek me and die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” Then said the Jews, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you can not come’? ” He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Even what I have told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge; but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he spoke to them of the Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” As he spoke thus, many believed in him.
Our Lord Jesus is God in the flesh and He has come to communicate (not just with words but with life) the most important Message humans have ever received. He is confronted with an audience that is hostile to His Message. The Lord doesn’t mince words. He tells them the Truth and they still don’t get it.
And these folks are the descendents of people who have been hearing the Message for centuries. God has particularly communicated with them through the Prophets, their History, and even the Holy Scriptures. And still they miss the point. But the consequences of this misunderstanding are dire.
The Lord doesn’t let their misunderstanding stop Him because He knows that many WILL hear and believe.
Jesus knows that this isn’t merely some ethical teachings He’s giving. This isn’t merely another religious philosophy. But the Message is HIM Himself. What these people have to do; what all of us have to do, is embrace Him; to become like Him so that we can enjoy being with Him and His Father forever. And yet they miss the point. And because of this they actually can’t hear all He has to say and to teach.
But those who do hear Him will receive His Message with joy and even His Judgement will be sweet to them because they have allowed His Message to prepare them to see any judgement from Him as love and not condemnation!
Today, are you willing to allow the Message of the Faith to form you; to shape your choices, your decisions, and your priorities? All the wisdom of the Orthodox faith is laid at your feet for this purpose. And your willingness to abandon the shortsighted selfishness of life on your own terms will determine whether you have the ears to hear the powerful message of being Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. Sunday’s all new Faith Encouraged LIVE show features YOU as my special guest! It’s Open Line Sunday and I am interested in your questions. Join me at 8 PM Eastern Sunday night on AncientFaith.com and let’s listen to the Message of Jesus together! Oh, pass this on to someone you love as well!