StubbornFr. Barnabas Powell
Christ is risen!
It was a dramatic moment in the courtroom. I was a witness for the prosecution since I had been the arresting officer in the case. But I was only one witness and the defendant was insisting he wasn’t the one who was driving the car when the accident occurred. Then, another witness came to testify. It was the man’s brother who had been in the car with him that fateful night. And the brother testified that, in fact, the defendant was the driver. Case closed!
Corroboration is essential to getting to the truth!
Look at our lesson today in John 8:12-20:
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees then said to him, “You are bearing witness to yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true, for I know whence I have come and whither I am going, but you do not know whence I come or whither I am going. You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me.” They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also.” These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
They thought they had Jesus cornered. You see, the religious leaders of the Lord’s day held to the very correct belief that just one man’s testimony isn’t enough to establish the truth! These religious leaders insisted like we Orthodox insist today, that the testimony of the fathers of the past is necessary to come to the fullness of the truth!
But here is where these men failed. They failed to realize that Jesus wasn’t speaking on His own. And even if He were, He knew He was telling the truth because He Knew Where He came from and From Whom He came!
Do you remember the baptism of Jesus? The Voice from heaven, and the dove descending on His head? God knows Himself as Persons in Communion, so the Lord was never speaking by Himself but saying everything the Father sent Him to say! And what He said; what He taught, was in complete harmony with all that God had been saying since he said “let there be Light!”
Jesus confronts these religious leaders with their shallow judgment of Him because they didn’t know Jesus. They failed to recognize where He was truly from. They judged the Lord wrongly because they had forgotten how to understand their own scriptures because their scriptures told them about Him and they missed it!
That’s always the danger when your faith becomes the mere repetition of old words without the underlying power of actually living and loving the wisdom of those words. Jesus was bold enough to reveal this weakness in these men when He tells them that if they really knew Him they would know the Father as well. Jesus spoke exactly like He needed to speak in hopes of awakening in these so very blind leaders a spark of humility and faith that would renew their whole lives. But they stubbornly refused. How sad.
Today, is there a streak of stubbornness that is keeping you from really hearing the Lord’s words; His wisdom; His invitation to grow with and in Him? The path away from this destructive selfishness is a willingness to come face to face with Christ and lovingly submit to being Orthodox on Purpose.
P.S. O Lord of Mercy, sometimes I’m weak, and sometimes I’m afraid. But, if I’m honest, most of the time I’m just stubborn. I want my own way and I want to indulge my desires and I don’t want to be corrected. And I stumble every time I’m living that way! Please forgive me, Lord, and give me the maturity to grow up and not dig my heels in when You are lovingly correcting me and my choices. Amen.