Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Living With Scandal

skeleton in cupboard Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” Jn 8:19

“Who are you?” they asked. Jn 8:25

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. Jn 8:41

The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” Jn 8:48

Skeletons in the Cupboard 
We all have things in our past, or maybe in the present, which we would rather keep hidden from others.

As society's moral values have changed many things which used to be regarded as scandalous are now seen as normal.

But there are still things we would rather people did not know about us.

Jesus' Great Scandal 
Since attitudes about children born outside marriage have changed it's hard for us to appreciate the great scandal which Jesus had to live with and so we miss much of the drama of John chapter 8.

In first century Israel it was virtually unheard of for a child to be conceived outside of marriage because it was regarded as such a great sin. If there were two witnesses to the event, the child was declared a mamzer (bastard) and could not attend the temple or marry anyone but another mamzer.

Jesus wasn't officially a mamzer as the only witnesses to His conception were Mary and the Holy Spirit.

However, everyone knew, not only that Jesus was conceived outside of marriage, but also that Joseph wasn't His natural father.

The skeleton was well and truly out of the proverbial closet.

Jesus had to live with this fact every day of His life, knowing that not only was His reputation being impuned but that of His mother too.

A Personal Attack
So when Jesus tried to teach the Jews that He was the light of the world they decided they would make a personal attack on Him in an attempt to divert Him from the subject.

They were progressively insulting beginning with, "Where is your father?" and culminating with calling Him a Samaritan (that was in the order of calling a mixed race person a half-breed today).

Jesus managed to stay on topic and took the opportunity to declare, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

No Jew could fail to recognise that this was Jesus declaring Himself to be Yahweh. So they picked up stones to carry out the death penalty for blasphemy.

A Comfort For Us 
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised,
and we held him in low esteem.
Is 53:3

What Jesus went through means that He knows exactly what it feels like to be human and despised.

We can take our skeletons and public humiliations to Him for His tender touch and compassion.

Is there something you feel too ashamed about to admit to Him? Don't hide it from Him. Instead open you heart to Him for there is no-one who understands like Jesus.

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