The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
John 11:55-57 gives us a glimpse of the contrasts caused by the Gospel. At the Passover, the time of purification, people are looking for Jesus. They rightly relate him to the idea of purification. They want him to be teaching and healing. At the same time, the leaders, called high priests and Pharisees, put out a warrant for Jesus’ arrest. They do not wish him to do his work.
Jesus’ work of grace, free grace, redeeming and healing people, bringing them forgiveness, is a threat to those who would seek salvation by works. When we emphasize Jesus’ free redemption, our world asks us why we don’t care for people. It is a perplexing question. Affirming an eternal kingdom based on grace in no way means that the Christian won’t be involved in loving and serving his neighbor. It does mean that the love and service is not the most important element of life. And that love and service may not take on all the same characteristics that others may desire.
A bottom line question from this passage is whether or not Christians will be courageous enough to continue the work of Christ even when they are under an arrest warrant. This is the way historic Christianity has carried on. As the world becomes a more dangerous place for Christians, maybe we need to rediscover it. People are in need of Jesus’ care. Let’s give it away.
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