Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 5, 2004
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
here is a selection from our new book of daily devotions,
"Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the Rev.
Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Gospel and Dr. Bochonok's meditation.
We hope you will be blessed.
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A theological dilemma
"Now while the Pharisees were gathered together,
Jesus asked them a question, saying, 'What do you
think of the Christ? Whose son is he?' They said
to him, 'The son of David.' Jesus said to them,
'How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit,
calls him Lord, saying, "The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under
thy feet"? If David thus calls him Lord, how is
he his son?' And no one was able to answer him a
word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask
him any more questions."
Jesus' listeners face a dilemma. If Jesus proclaims
himself to be the Messiah everything would change.
People would need to choose sides in a spiritual-
political-religious revolution that would turn their
world upside down.
Nonetheless, "[t]he large crowd listened to [Jesus]
with delight" (Mark 12:37 NIV) as he asked these
challenging questions (see also Luke 20:41-44 for
another version of this teaching). Jesus tells the
crowds and Pharisees that the Messiah was more than
a descendant of David. The Messiah is David's Lord
and superior, radical theology for the listening
Suddenly the mood of the crowd shifted to apprehension
and fear. The throng sensed the embarrassed Pharisees'
cold hatred towards Jesus. Any more questions would
be far too dangerous for askers and listeners alike.
Jesus was clearly on thin ice as he spoke with such
authority and presence. People shifted uneasily on
their feet, some coughing and clearing their throats
in the thick and uncomfortable silence. The Pharisees
were not interested in engaging in good natured,
jocular debate. They were dead serious in their
growing resolve to permanently silence Jesus.
Many times I find myself wondering what relevance
particular biblical passages have. It can be
difficult in the best of times to understand and
appreciate some of these ancient stories. As one
who grew up in a distinctly Protestant home, I can
only try and imagine with my limited ability just
how outraged and determined these devout Pharisees
were in their growing resolve to destroy Jesus. The
furious Pharisees intimidated the great crowd with
fear. Speakers and listeners alike realized any more
being said could lead to a point of no turning back.
There are times when silence is golden and this was
one of them.
What are we to do with this story? Perhaps all we
can do is linger with the tension in the crowd and
think of what really was at stake. If Jesus is who
he claims to be, then we too, face the crowd's dilemma.
We must then accept or reject his astonishing spiritual-
political-religious revolution that continues even to
this day. Our decision is intensely personal and will
affect how we live, love, work, play, rest, and serve
God and humanity.
God, what do we believe about this person named Jesus?
Help us live our beliefs about him today. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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