Skip to main content

Does pedigree really matter?

Jesus taught a lot in crowds, simply because there were a lot of curiosity seekers that flocked to him, but also because he found himself in the right place at the right time to use those opportunities as "teachable moments". One such moment was on the day known as the Feast of Tabernacles - a time when Jews solemnly gathered to celebrate one of the required "feast days" outlined in the Law of Moses.  There is controversy in the crowd, simply because people are all hung up about his upbringing, lack of education, and the place where he was born (and even perhaps the family into which he was born into).  This isn't a new problem for men and women, is it?  We tend to judge based on some "criteria" we hold for the "value or worth" of another because they went to school somewhere other than the local junior college, or have a familial line linked to some aristocracy.  Truth is, nothing of a "pedigree" in human terms really defines us as who we are - it is the character of a man which defines him.  To that end, Jesus doesn't want the crowd to be hung upon his "pedigree", but rather to see deep into this character - his mission was always to reveal the character of the One who sent him (his heavenly Father).  He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.”  No one could offer such a gift as he did, yet some struggle with the "gift" because the "giver" doesn't "match" their impression or image of "pedigree".  Isn't this just like us to be so hung up on the "person's background" that we miss what is right in front of us!

The Pharisees said, “Are you carried away like the rest of the rabble? You don’t see any of the leaders believing in him, do you? Or any from the Pharisees? It’s only this crowd, ignorant of God’s Law, that is taken in by him—and damned.” Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee, spoke up. “Does our Law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?”  But they cut him off. “Are you also campaigning for the Galilean? Examine the evidence. See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee.”  Then they all went home.  (John 7:47-53 MSG)

To top things off, the religious leaders get word of his actions of teaching in the Temple - about half way through the feast.  Now, so as not to make a move too hastily, they observe what he does, listen to what he says, quietly noticing how some in the crowd will embrace him readily and others will reject him, getting all hung up on this "pedigree" thing!  To the religious leaders, they didn't have "enough evidence" to shut him down yet and not suffer the retaliation of the crowds who were drawn to him.  So, they wait and plot.  In their waiting, they have employed those who will act as their "plants" in the crowds to report back what he is doing and saying.  Maybe this was because all the religious leaders could not be seen as totally "getting into" his teachings because this would show they supported his ministry.  Regardless of their tactics and reasons, they still will not embrace the possibilities of him being Messiah.  All, that is, but one!  Nicodemus - the one who had come to Jesus under the secrecy of darkness - to find out for himself, first hand evidence to either convince him of the reality of his purpose and plan in teaching as the possible Messiah, or to discount those teachings and the man alike.

I really want us to see the attitude of the Pharisees - the religious leaders in this passage who obviously hold themselves as superior to the crowds gathered together at the Temple for the feast.  It is clear from the passage that these religious leaders see the crowds as "simpletons" and "uneducated". They focus on their own "superior" understanding of scripture - because they had the "privilege" of being brought up in all the right schools, with the right opportunities.  If there is one thing I have learned in this lifetime, it is that when we "elevate" ourselves in our minds and hearts, our attitude of pride dictating how we respond to people in this life, we are in for a sad awakening to the reality of our humanness!  Nothing can bring us down from our pedestal faster than having one indiscretion revealed, or finding out our "masks" we thought we wore so well did not conceal the insecurities we actually still possess!

To the religious leaders, the crowds were "rabble" - common people.  To Jesus, they were individuals created in the image of God, designed for the purpose of worshiping the Holy God.  To the religious leaders, the crowds were "unable" to ferret out the truth about Jesus' teachings simply because they didn't have the right education.  To Jesus, their degree of education was "evaluated" more by their responsiveness of heart to the message taught, not the place they attended school!  We see sharp contrasts between how Jesus and the religious leaders treated the crowds.  To one, they were not significant enough to bother with - to the other, they meant everything and were the very purpose for which he existed!

Nicodemus dares to speak up - to challenge the religious leaders - not as an outsider to the group, but as one of them!  Imagine the looks which might have come his way as he dares to challenge them about this "great teacher". He probably drew more than one disapproving glare, and maybe even a few clicks of the tongue in disgust over his "naivete".  Perhaps some were holding their heads low as they might have been some who taught Nicodemus in the schools of the Law these Pharisees attended - almost shamed by his challenge to consider Jesus as a prophet or even as the Messiah.  Ask yourself this - if you were in the same position as Nicodemus, would you speak up? Would you be afraid of the "pedigreed" mass, or willing to stand up for what you believe to be true?  

Nothing determines our destiny except our position in Christ Jesus - it isn't our position ON Christ that matters as much as our position IN Christ!  When we cross-over from arguing about the reality of what he is and accept him as who he is, we move INTO him.  This move is what determines our destiny. Stay firmly planted in our focus on "pedigree" and we will likely miss the most amazing gift of our lifetime!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean