March 26, 2019 John 7:37-52 Josh Smith
“See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.”
– Psalm 25:19-21
“Nicodemus…asked, “does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?” – John 7: 50a-51
Man I love to talk. And argue, with spirit. But after years of debates and arguments in locker rooms and conference rooms and construction trailers, I’ve made few enemies and never been in a fistfight. Somehow me and the other guy always connect when we take a second to keep silent and listen, at least enough to part ways on fair terms.
But I can have real, unforgiving enemies with just 10 words on Facebook or a news feed.
I think it’s because apps and websites are bad venues for hearing. People read those first 10 words, peg you as the enemy, and nice goes out the window well before they make the effort to understand you.
Jesus seemed to be in a bad venue for being heard. He interrupted a party festival, loudly, by proclaiming Living Water was about to flow out of him and if you drank it, that same water could flow out of you.
After that, most people just didn’t want to hear the rest of what Jesus had to say.
Even before the living water comment, a lot of the religious leaders couldn’t stand one word out of Jesus’ mouth, so great was their hatred for what Jesus represented.
Jesus might have prayed the short prayer from Psalms 25. Maybe he sighed. People were talking about him, viciously, in the other room. Some of them wanted to kill him. Nicodemus, though, asked for his fellow rulemakers to stop and listen, before condemnation. Nicodemus didn’t understand everything Jesus was on Earth to accomplish, but he knew there was value in listening.
None of us deserve to be heard less than another, or more than another. And someone, or some One, might be saying something really important.
Prayer: Lord God help me to listen more than speak. Help me to hear others