I am studying at Panera… working through some material for some upcoming teaching, and I am looking at how Jesus was accepted by his culture. Specifically the religious culture of his day.
I have always been humbly amazed at how the religious leaders of Jesus’ day could see the evidence of his miracles, hear his radical teaching, and not recognize him as Christ. I mean, they were people just like me – what would have made me skeptical of Christ in his day?
Jesus’ contemporaries were looking for a conquering, militaristic, kingly messiah. A political hero in the image of David that would overthrow Rome and bring political freedom to Israel. This was a KNOWN in the temples and synagogues of Jesus’ day. No one argued this… it was religious "fact" – every good Jewish parent taught this to their children. And because of this, religious folks completely missed what they were looking for most – Jesus as Coming Messiah! All because of this narrow lens through which they had already "seen" the Messiah’s arrival.
Why did they have such a narrow lens? Because of years of reading the Scripture (the Old Testament) through a particular framework – a framework of assumption that the text describing the Messiah "in the line of David" would mean what they had determined it would mean. They moved it to the "we know this" column, and refused to reconsider their preconceived mindset; they had studied the scripture, and it meant only what they knew it to mean! This of course blinded them to the real Messiah stepping out of heaven into their midst – the very thing they all longed to see.
Wow! How dangerous is that? How do our views of end-times/eschatology, the nature of the gospel (just to get people to heaven or to redeem all creation), or other "we know these" doctrines narrow our view of what God is doing here and now? What do my lenses / preconceived frameworks keep me from seeing about God today? Am I missing anything on the magnitude of Christ walking in my midst because I am too settled into how I view Revelation? How I view the poor, the homeless, or the nature of the gospel?
God – keep me flexible. Don’t let me become so settled on what I "know" must be, that I miss what you are doing right now!