What if Jesus Shows Up?

Some thoughts on John 11:55-57.

55-56 The Jewish Passover was coming up. Crowds of people were making their way from the country up to Jerusalem to get themselves ready for the Feast. They were curious about Jesus. There was a lot of talk of him among those standing around in the Temple: “What do you think? Do you think he’ll show up at the Feast or not?”

57 Meanwhile, the high priests and Pharisees gave out the word that anyone getting wind of him should inform them. They were all set to arrest him.

The Jews are gathering for passover to Purify themselves.


They’re trying to make themselves Holy.

They’re getting ready to go through the motions again.  Say the prayers and do the rituals.  They’ve done them every year and they know how they work.  They could probably do it in their sleep at this point.

Somewhere Jesus is out causing trouble.  Healing people on Sundays, giving sight to people we’d rather not hang out with, sharing the table with all kinds of folks who haven’t been to the temple in years.  And if they’re honest, the it’s people some of us are glad aren’t in the temple.

But he’s out there…somewhere…causing trouble.  The Pharisees can feel the threads starting to pull apart.  The perfect world they’ve created where they’re comfortable and in control is beginning to unravel.  It’s like a hole in your pocket.  Every time to reach your hand in there, it opens up just a little bit larger…until bit by bit the whole thing is a mess of thread.  And Jesus just keeps pulling.

He’s pulling at the old customs and rules that had no life in them and calling people to something new…or maybe it’s calling them back to something old and timeless.  Something as old and weathered as Abraham.

A real faithfulness to God.

A lived our faith that allows us to see others as the beautiful creations that they are.

A call to give up the uses and the thems, the ins and the outs…

And somewhere…out there…as they prepare for passover…is Jesus…

And the Jews begin to wonder – Will he show up HERE?

Surely HERE we can hide from the chaos and disorder of sinner and saints dancing together.
Surely HERE these walls will protect us from the loud music of revolution on the other side…even as the thumping bass shakes up through the floor boards, and without wanting to we find our toes beginning to tap to the rhythm of this new song.
Surely HERE the powerful can remain powerful, the rich can remain rich, and we can all keep up the illusion that we’ve got this God thing under control and wrapped up tight.
Surely HERE we can keep things the way they’ve always been…the way we want them to be.

But what if Jesus wants to break in here?

What if Jesus wants to show up here…and to start causing trouble?

Are we ready?

Its’ funny how churches and people can be.   Sometimes it’s like a sub-pump breaks in the basement of a church and for the first few hours afterwards everyone notices a quite unpleasant smell coming from down below.  It drifts up past the pastors office, past the program and administrative staff and begins to settle upstairs.  At first we notice it, we remark on it, but, we’ve got other things to worry about and other things to do.  Maybe we notice it again the next day.  But nobody really wants to deal with it at the moment…it’s easier to let it slide…or maybe we wanted to deal with it but for whatever reason we just kind of didn’t get around to it.  So you show up 5 years later and find that no one notices the smell.  If you show up 10 years later and you point it out, everyone in the church will say ‘actually…we like that smell!  That’s the smell of our building…we’ve had it that way as long as we can remember and we want to keep it that way!’.

And all the while Jesus is out there, causing trouble.

Until one day.  He shows up.  Here.



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