I have been reading through John recently, and I have to tell you, I have missed a lot from the times I read from it earlier. I have been amazed at the figures that fill the story of Christ as He walked this earth. The simple people He called to follow Him, those He entrusted with His story, those He did not, the rich and powerful, the poor and broken, the story if Christ is so amazing. I see all of these types of people still exist to this day, we may see them differently, but really, in some form or another, all the characters are still there. We may bypass the idea that they are, and we may fear what group we fit in with the best, and if confronted with the groups that we would belong to, I wonder how we would respond.
I have found myself to fit in with the group of religious leaders of Christ time, I have been confronted about it by the Spirit of God and found that I have a strong desire to shed the religious ritualism that I have found caked on me from my years of wanting to belong to the religious culture to which I was brought up in. I studied and conformed myself to fit the mold that seemed to be the accepted form that I felt was expected of me. The problem is, I don’t fit well into that mold, it doesn’t feel very natural and I seem to be a bit like a “fat guy in a little coat” (yes, that was a Tommy Boy quote). When confronted about how I was trying to fit a mold I didn’t belong to, I respond with a sort of, “…but you don’t understand, I am supposed to wear this coat.” Even though the coat doesn’t fit, even though I was feeling constricted, even though I felt awkward, and felt as if I was unfulfilled.
As I read through John, I began to see that God wanted more for everyone than what the religious leaders of that time were willing to give. They had condensed God down to a practical, rational, system that made good sense and they could use this package to exercise power and rule with an iron fist and if you crossed them...you crossed God, at least that is what they wanted you to believe. So when God actually did come down, and blew the doors off the nice, tidy little package they rebelled.
So, as I have seen myself in this light, my spirit cries out to become something more than a religious leader. I just want to be a simple follower, and if leadership comes as a byproduct…so be it. When God speaks strange things that I can’t understand or wrap my mind around, I want to be ok with that, and keep following. I don’t want to condense God down to some science when He is so much more than that. Many of those that actually followed and loved Christ couldn’t even break past the thought that He didn’t have limitations (John 11), even death couldn’t stop Him…and later, even His own death couldn’t stop Him.
Would I have believed if I was there? I have the gift of hindsight now, but what in the moment matter is going on that I am blind to and yet God is trying to show me that He is bigger than what my mind can imagine and He wants to work outside of my mental jurisdiction to expand my understanding, see His power, and watch Him glorify Himself? My religious limitations have brought God down to a man sized capacity of understanding and so therefore if I can’t understand it…it can’t be God. I seek forgiveness, I confess, and I want to be washed clean so that I may have a clearer picture of the truth that is Christ. I have a longing to stop rebelling because rebellion is much of what I have always known.
I want to be at complete unity with God’s Spirit…even if it is against my very nature, even if it looks different than what I have always been taught…even if I have to shed this small coat I have always been taught I should be wearing.
No more rebellion.