22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”25Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.”
What you can’t see, when this is all you read, is that the response to what Jesus was saying was to pick up stones and stone him . Not an innocent “I want to know so I can follow you” but much more how can we catch him out so we can get rid of him.. It was like thier mind was made up.
So it raised for me the question as to how do we even know what the Messiah looks like? How would we know if we saw him (or her)?
I ended up in Isaiah 11 in the scrolls of the Old.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
I have to confess in doing this work this week, I found it very challenging being a white middle class woman, I heard it first time as a challenge of how I help the poor of our world. In reading it again I see God will give decisions for the poor.. (See the scales in the bottom left). I live in the hope and grace of trying to live as one of those sheep, allowing the protective staff to guide me that my actions and life will to be to the benefit of all. I’m glad it is not left up all to my own strength!
What are the stones we are quick to pick up? How do we enter conversations or situations with our decision already made? What do I hear but have trouble believing? Is how Isaiah talks of the Messiah how we hold onto it?