But certainly not I . . .
. . . said the man with scissors in his hand.
Today’s reading comes from John 7:40-53:
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Then each went to his own house.
Imagine it’s the first century and there was a 10,000-piece puzzle – – put together perfectly. The picture it made was so beautiful that it translated the viewer directly into heaven. Then the pieces got jumbled up! After fifteen long centuries, men decided to put the puzzle back together. They took scissors and cut new shapes because the puzzle was too complicated. Everyone agrees the picture is not quite right. Every cut, however slight, adds distortion. Lots of pieces are left over. But that’s okay. The rule is sola Scissora: Every man with his own scissors must do his best to cut the pieces, making the best possible picture. If the picture feels right, that cut must’ve been right. Scissor cults increased in number. They tell each other mixed up stories about an ancient cult – – one that claims still to gather around the original, never-jumbled puzzle. But mostly they’re indifferent and go on cutting with their scissors.
The scissor cults are like the crowd in John 7. There, the crowd argued and divided based on false information about Jesus. Yes, He had lived in Nazareth of Galilee, but actually Jesus had been born in Bethlehem — just like the ancient prophecy said. Maybe, if one or two had stopped to learn the truth, they would not have been among the mob that cried out on that first Good Friday: “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
I used to have my own scissors and judge unjustly. I pray not any more.
AS FOR ME, I KNOW THAT MY VINDICATOR LIVES, AND THAT HE WILL AT LAST STAND FORTH UPON THE DUST. THIS WILL HAPPEN WHEN MY SKIN HAS BEEN STRIPPED OFF, AND FROM MY FLESH I WILL SEE GOD: I WILL SEE FOR MYSELF, MY OWN EYES, NOT ANOTHER’S, WILL BEHOLD HIM: MY INMOST BEING IS CONSUMED WITH LONGING. JOB 19:25-27
ONE LORD. ONE FAITH. ONE BAPTISM.