July 29, 2020 – Luke 13:29-33
Have you ever learned someone’s name incorrectly? I have. After we had lived on our street for nearly four years – I’m sure it was at least that long – one of the neighbors three houses down walked by and I excitedly said, “Hi Bob!” Then he stopped and said, “You know, I’ve never known how to tell you this, but my name’s not Bob. It’s Bill.”
And then I died inside.
I was so sure of what I was saying, but I was completely, totally wrong. That’s a tough pill to swallow when it’s something rather small, like a name. But imagine being the people in Jesus’ day, who thought they were right with God simply because of their ancestors. They believed it with their whole being – being right with God because they were a descendant of Abraham was literally their identity. Can you imagine how truly vile Jesus sounded when he indicated that wasn’t necessarily true? No amount of healing, casting out of demons or teaching God’s word with authority was going to be enough for some of the folks who were the most invested in their history as Israelites.
So often Jesus’ teaching had as much to do with unlearning the wrong ideas about God as it did teaching the truth about God. Some people were willing to listen, to realize that their understanding had been a little wonky, and they were able to receive Jesus’ teaching and be transformed by it. Those who refused to look inside themselves and ask if there was a chance they had been wrong? Those folks rejected Jesus. One of those groups received the grace, love and mercy that Jesus came to give to us while the other group missed out on that. The only difference between them was a willingness to be corrected.
Questions for reflection:
- Think of a time when you were corrected about something. How did it feel? What did you learn?
- Why do you think Jesus offered correction to people? What was his motivation?
- Would you say you are open to correction? Would someone who knows you well answer the question the same way?
- In your prayer time today, ask God to point out any areas where you might need correction, and be ready to listen with an open heart and mind.