The Bible asks questions of me, as much as I ask questions of it.
These readings ask me questions. Who is Jesus? Is he just Mary’s son, a fatherless child, a carpenter? His neighbours were asking, “Who does he think he is?” Jesus does not directly answer their question, but responds to the great needs around him. He sends others to share his tasks of healing, proclamation and exorcism, confronting evil, bringing it into the light and so dispelling its power. “By their deeds you shall know them.”
Jesus did not let other people’s negative assessments of him lessen his powerful love.
So with Paul, who when faced with criticism (chapter 11) reacted with very human anger. He answered the criticism by giving his own credentials, even as he realised it was a very foolish thing to do. Having vented his anger without hurting anyone, he went on to proclaim the Gospel. Yes he was a fallible, weak human being with a thorn in his flesh, but he had a mission from God to proclaim God’s love. Nothing had stopped him yet, and nothing would stop him now.
Then the Bible asks me, who do you think you are? Who am I? A weak, fallible human with a few thorns in my flesh, not the least being that I, like Paul, can lose my temper. Yet God wants to continue to use me, as God wants to use you, to share God’s love. No excuses. Through our very failures and weaknesses, perhaps even more than through our strengths, God’s love can shine. We, like those disciples of old, can be messengers of God’s healing, proclamation and righteousness. Thanks be to God.
Rev Rosalind Terry
Scots Memorial Hobart