Friday, July 21, 2017

The Vision (7.21.17): And his disciples remembered

Image: Butterfly bush, Charlottesville, Virginia. July 2017

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 2:11-17.

And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up (John 2:17).

John notes here that upon reflection on Christ’s cleansing of the temple, his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house has eaten me up [consumed me].

You will find similar statements about remembering throughout John’s Gospel (see ahead 2:22). Compare John 14:26 when Jesus promises that he will send his disciples the Comforter who will “bring all things to remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).

When did these remembrances occur? We are not told. I think it was most likely after the cross and resurrection. They remembered that it was written, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” This is a citation of Psalm 69:9. Psalm 69 is one of the messianic passion psalms (like Psalm 22 and others).

It is a Psalm of David but also of Christ himself. In the midst is v. 9. John cites just part of it. The full verse reads:

Psalm 69:9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproaches thee are fallen upon me.

I think John is saying that in looking back at this early incident in the public ministry of Jesus during the Passover in Jerusalem they saw his zeal for the glory and honor of God the Father. But that incident would be eclipsed by an even greater expression of his zeal at a future Passover when he would lay down his life a ransom for many, when the reproaches of them that reproached God the Father fell upon him.

John’s statement in v. 17 is a reminder that most of our deepest spiritual learning comes not in the present moment of our experiences but upon later reflection. Most of our deepest spiritual learning comes through hindsight, through the rearview mirror, as it were.

Calvin observed:

And, indeed, it does not always happen that the reason of God’s works is immediately perceived by us, but afterwards, in the process of time, He makes known to us his purpose. And this is a bridle exceedingly well adapted to restrain our presumption [to murmur against God or stand in judgment of what he has allowed].

Notice also that what the disciples reflected upon was Scripture. Calvin again is helpful:

Now observe that they followed the guidance of Scripture… and indeed no man will ever learn what Christ is, or the object of what he did and suffered, unless he has been taught and guided by Scripture.

He adds: “it will be necessary that Scripture shall be the subject of our diligent and constant meditation.”

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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