God is still in control
REV. SAMUEL BOODLE
Published: May 30, 2013
Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
“You are not yet 50 years old,” the Jews said to him, “And you have seen Abraham!”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
– John 8:54-59
During my seminary training in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I had to make regular calls to a rest home to which I was assigned. Occasionally I would sit and chat with a group of ladies who were always assembled around the same table.
As I sat with those ladies, I thought I was having a normal conversation. That is, until on one of my visits, one of the ladies informed me that she had gone home to Alabama over the weekend and that the people of her community had asked about me. Then on a similar visit another lady told me that someone at her lodge had said they had not seen me to meeting in a while.
Then I realized that I was the only one having a normal conversation. The old ladies at that special table were senile. They and I were having two different conversations.
In the above text, Jesus is having a conversation with some people; however, they and Jesus are on two different plains. Jesus is talking about spiritual matters while they are concerned with secular or earthly matters.
Because they are so concerned about earthly things, and because they have contempt for Jesus, their minds are closed to what he has to say. Their eyes are blind to the fact that the Messiah is in their midst. They have all of the signs but refused to see.
When he talked about and referred to Abraham, they were surprised that, at his age, he talked as if he knew Abraham personally. “... Before Abraham was born, I am!” This puzzles them. But then they did not have the faith of Abraham. Jesus, the Messiah, is the God of Abraham.
“I Am,” is the name for God. When he was sending Moses to deliver the Israelites from the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt, Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is the his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” (Exodus 3:13-15)
Unfortunately, the old ladies to whom I was speaking were senile. They did not have the ability to have a normal conversation. However, the people in conversation with Jesus were different. They had all of their faculties but refused to look beyond their prejudices.
Their forefather, Abraham, believed when God gave him a glimpse of the future. Yet, they, who were beholding what Abraham longed to see, refused to believe. God’s promised Messiah, the Christ, was in their presence, but, instead of believing and giving thanks to God as their father Abraham did, they picked up stones with the intention of stoning him.
Today, as we in the Christian church continue to proclaim this same gospel and present God to the world, they are still picking up stones to throw at us. The world is still calling us crazy. They are still saying that we are demon possessed.
Notwithstanding this, we should not be deterred. We follow in the train of the prophets and the apostles. We are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of the world.
God is still in control. He is still guiding us. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and sustain us in our mission. This we should do until he calls us away to our eternal rest. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas or telephone: 323-4107; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.