I was reading the story of Jesus in the Temple, with an angry lot of Jews working up a lather and demanding a miraculous sign to demonstrate his authority. His answer did nothing to calm them down, and didn’t make an awful lot of sense to his disciples at that time either!
Jn.2:19-22 Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.” They were indignant: “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.
So easy isn’t it to get the wrong end of the stick, when you haven’t got all the facts, let alone the correct mindset? So in a way, it was no surprise at Jesus’ trial for his life, that the Chinese Whispers had done their embellishing!
Mk.14:55-59 The high priests conspiring with the Jewish Council looked high and low for evidence against Jesus by which they could sentence him to death. They found nothing. Plenty of people were willing to bring in false charges, but nothing added up, and they ended up cancelling each other out. Then a few of them stood up and lied: “We heard him say, ‘I am going to tear down this Temple, built by hard labour, and in three days build another without lifting a hand.'” But even they couldn’t agree exactly.
And it got me thinking how often our thinking goes askew, more often than not in a destructive way, when we don’t have the full picture. A few weeks ago, after some rather alarming symptoms in my left eye overnight, and a phonecall to my Optometrist early next morning, I ended up in A&E with a possible detached retina – all very scary! I sent a text to 6 close family and friends asking them to pray, and 5 replied quickly with loving messages and assurances. Tests at the DGH proved all was well with my eye, but during the next week, I became more and more hurt at the lack of a reply from the other one, building up in my mind the earlier disagreement we’d had over the handling of a certain matter into a complete rift between us, imagining the worst – listening to all sorts of Chinese Whispers in my head! But then suddenly after a really miserable few days, I noticed the little icon on my phone saying I had voicemail – it was a lovely message of care and concern, and when I checked the time and date, it had been there all the time, arriving even before the other 5 texts!
Why do we so often do these things to ourselves? Before we go off on one the next time, let’s resolve to first ask Jesus to help us grasp and understand how things really are