Lent – Days 4 & 5

Sorry I missed posting yesterday.  It was a busy day around the farm and while I got my reading done, I apparently needed to complete Day 5 before I could post about 4 and 5.  Sometimes, God works that way in me.

Day 4 focused on Matthew 11:3 when John the Baptist question if Jesus was the Messiah.  “Are you the one who was to come or should expect someone else?”  I guess I’ve read this in this past as John asking Jesus to confirm for those listening the He really was the Messiah.  Today’s reading challenged that thought.  What if John was asking for himself?  Did he have a bit of uncertainty?  He thought he knew why the Messiah was coming and had an image of what He was to be like.  Remember that the Jews believed the Messiah was coming as a powerful King Warrior.  Jesus came instead as a warrior for our hearts.  In Matthew 11:6 Jesus said,”Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

When we go on to Day 5, Day 4 is understood more completely.  Jesus’ response assured John of more than Jesus’ identity.  His words affirmed John’s identity as well.  You see, John’s questioning of if Jesus was who is claimed he was, was also a questioning of his own identity.  If Jesus isn’t the Messiah, then John isn’t the prophet foretelling the Messiah.  If God isn’t who we think He is, then who are we?  In the Jewish culture it’s actually considered a good thing to question one’s faith.  Jews know the Scriptures are strong enough to stand up under questioning.  We actually weaken our faith when we silence our questions.  John heard within Jesus’ response the same striking answer we hear today:  Who is Jesus?  He is more than we thought, hoped or imagined.  His wildness is a source of wonder, not worry.  His righteousness is deeper than the oceans.  His goodness is higher than the heavens.  And His faithfulness exceeds our comprehension.  So what does that make us?  LOVED.  Christ’s beloved.  We are loved when making bold proclamations near cool waters under sunny skies.  We are loved when asking sincere questions in dark cells and darker times.  We are LOVED.

The readings come from John 12: 29-43 and challenge us to fast from a “tidy faith”.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions of God.  He loves you – always.

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