Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Young Jesus in the Eyes of an Old Scribe

I have been thinking about this thing of being 53 years old. It's a bit striking to realize that I am twenty years older than Jesus when He was crucified.

I'm old enough to be one of the Scribes or Pharisees.

I can imagine myself watching this young Jesus and stroking my beard and remarking on the "interesting novelty of the Jesus phenomenon." I would be determined to give further study to this religious and sociological development... a some point, when I could find time.

After all, a venerable scribe, noted for his wisdom—someone who enjoys being called "rabbi" (or "teacher," "professor," whatever)—such a person has many other pressing concerns and plans to do good things for people, for society.

Then the dark night would come when I would be roused from sleep and called to a hasty assembly of my colleagues to vote on the fate of this unusual young man. I would be bothered by having to make a rash decision, but in the end I would vote with the group because that's where my interests would be vested. As always, when it comes to a decision, I would be looking out for myself.

I hardly need to project myself back two thousand years and imagine such a scene. How much of my real life has been taken up with this kind of intellectual distance, coldness, indecisiveness, vanity, selfishness.

Nevertheless, what reaches me is the grace of the Holy Spirit and the witness of His disciples. A person can be "born again even if he is old." God pours out His mercy and love upon us all.

"In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another" (1 John 4:9-11).