“Prove Me Guilty”

15 12 2007

This morning I was reading John 8 and something mind blowing caught my attention. Jesus is talking to the Jews and Pharisees, as he often does, chastising them for being so hypocritical. He gets into this debate with them about who is their father. They claim that God is their father, Abraham is their father, to which Jesus basically replies  "No, your father is the devil." (As a side note, I had a thought today about how it’s cool that Jesus spoke in parables. But I can only imagine what it must have been like during those times listening to him talk. They must have been confused a lot. Or misinterpreted things a lot. ‘Cuz sometimes it takes a couple reads for me to even understand what Jesus is talking about and even then I think I only scratch the surface. I wonder if Jesus had been a little more clear and direct in his speaking would more Jews and Pharisees been willing to accept his teachings, ya know? Like what if he just came out and was like "Hey! I’m Jesus! I’m JC himself! Woo hoo! Partay! Everlasting life!" Instead of "Who do you think I am? I am the one who came before the one who came came" and so on and so on. But I digress. Back to my stunning revelation for today…)

So as these Jews and Pharisees proceed to try to trap Jesus in some kind of word game to try and prove that he’s not legit, he says to them in verse 46 "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?" This was powerful to me but not as powerful as the footnote in my Bible that says this:

"In a number of places Jesus intentionally challenged his listeners to test him. He welcomed those who wanted to question his claims and character as long as they were willing to follow through on what they discovered. Jesus’ challenge clarifies the two most frequent reasons that people miss when encountering him: 1) they never accept the challenge to test him or 2) they test him but are not willing to believe what they discover…"

One thing that strikes me about the Jews was that they were quick to
challenge Jesus but not so quick to believe the results of the
challenge. When Jesus told them earlier in v. 32 that they would know
the truth and the truth would set them free, their response was we’ve
never been slaves so how can you say we’ve been set free. Their denial
of the sin in their heart made them miss out on the blessing that was
right in front of them. Because they weren’t aware of their issues to
acknowledge them, they weren’t able to feel what it means to be free. In
other words, they felt free to challenge Jesus, but they weren’t
willing to accept what they discovered, which was that they were slaves
to sin.

That was powerful to me because it reminded me of the many occasions that I’ve been frustrated with God about certain issues. And it wasn’t until I challenged him in those issues and really got in his face that I really started to see results. And when I say results I don’t mean that I always got what I wanted. But I walked away with a much better understanding and peace about the situation.

Back in June I challenged God in the area of my singleness. I felt like he wasn’t listening to me in this area so for 30 days I sought him everyday on this issue. For 30 days I allowed myself to be a straight up pest and bugged him about it. After all, the Bible says ask, seek and knock, right? And that’s what I did for 30 days–ask, seek, and knock. My challenge to God was that if you don’t answer my prayers, I’m turning away. Of course at the end of the 30 days, I didn’t turn away even though I didn’t get what I initially prayed for. But during the course of those 30 days he showed me who I was. He showed me the areas where I was being a slave to sin.  And I feel like the result was my freedom.

When was the last time you challenged God? Get in his face and try to "prove Him guilty." Just try it. You might be surprised at what issues you may find…

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One response

16 12 2007
Angela

I LOVE this. And your side note really isn’t much of a side note, it’s right in keeping with your theme. Ask, seek, knock. I believe the parables were intended to motivate us to start our quest to “discover” God. Answers never come easy. It’s like in that book (incredibly boring, but deeply insightful) The Pilgrim’s Progress. It’s line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little there a little. What’s that scripture that says “It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter but the glory of kings to search it out.”?
That’s where we sometimes fall short in Christian storytelling. We always want the Gospel to be front-and-center, easily accessible. But God doesn’t tend to treat us like that. He wants the asking, seeking, knocking. And the resulting revelation that comes is such a great reward.

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