Blog 2554 – 10.26.2022
Will The Real You Please Stand Up
To be grateful or resentful, to be happy or sad, to be full and overflowing, to be unsatisfied or glad – these are choices we make everyday of our lives. Even Jesus who some prefer to believe was God masquerading as a man revealed his frustration with life on occasion. I am thinking in particular about the account of his cursing the fig tree for not having fruit when he was hungry. It wasn’t the time of year for fig trees to bear fruit but a disappointed Jesus cursed and withered the tree anyway with a word. We can all imagine what that withering word might have been.
Temper is what gives the finest steel a little flexibility so it does not break but gives a little when stressed. We need to have temper just to not lose it so easily when the stresses of life overwhelm us. Did Jesus ever lose his temper? The above story seems to indicate that he did indeed. He was not always patient with people even those nearest to him, referring to them as stiff-necked slow learners with little faith more than once. He really lost it in the temple courtyard when he saw the money changers short changing the poor. He made a whip of chords and drove out the animals there to be sold for sacrifices and overturned the tables full of coins in protest. He even grew impatient with his loving and infinite source when he cried out from the cross , “Father, father why have you forsaken me.”
And isn’t that when we tend to lose our perspective and our temper most often, when we let ourselves become isolated and feel we are all alone and on our own? Life can at times seem exhausting and overwhelming and we can feel powerless and just not up to it. Riding my bike yesterday I was considering an Old Testament verse that I have mulled over in my mind many times. It goes something like this: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord.”
Once when Jesus and his disciples were entering a town to preach the “good news” to them, the towns people refused them and closed their eyes, ears, and hearts to their message. The twins, James and John stepped forward and said to Jesus, “You just give us the word, Lord, and we will call down fire on these people.” Jesus answered them, “You know not what spirit you are of.” The twins were thereafter nicknamed, “The sons of thunder” but never asked again for a license to kill. Much as we might want to be hitmen and women for God as far as I know there are no avenging angel positions open. There are still positions available for lovers though.
We are told that Jesus was tempted in all points just as we are. Was Jesus perfect? How could he be tempted if he was or was that forty days in the desert just a charade and masquerade ball too? The four Gospels were written long after the events they portray took place. Stories have a tendency to grow and get garbled a bit by the telling and retelling of them especially those that are not recorded right away and even then eyewitness accounts sometimes vary.
Each of us must choose not only what we believe about Jesus but what we believe about ourselves. Are we all alone and on our own to face all that life has to throw at us or are we something more than the sum of our parts? I like to think the stories, myths or true, of heroes in fact or fiction give us clues as to Who and Whose we truly are and that are never alone without back-up.
I close with another verse to consider:
Your friend and fellow traveler,