Scripture: John 14:1-14
When I hear Jesus say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” this scene from the movie “A Few Good Men” immediately comes to mind: https://68.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3qfcuztiX1rrdbbco1_500.gif
Jack Nicholson showed up in my December “Season’s Greetings” blog post, too.
Does anyone else have visions of Jack Nicholson when they read the gospels? Anyone? Anyone?
Ok, maybe it’s just me.
But there is something about an angry, unhinged, often yelling Jack Nicholson that speaks an important reminder to us about the scriptures. Perhaps we’ve become accustomed to hearing the words of scripture speaking in hushed, polite tones. Maybe we’ve heard these words so many times they sound too familiar, too predictable, too comfortable. Just maybe, we say we’ve heard the good news and yet we feel little and do nothing. That’s why we could use a little Jack Nicholson in our biblical interpretation. In the jarring contrast, we are reminded that the gospel message was, is, and forever will be challengingly life-changing, mind-blowingly difficult, and even in-your-face offensive to those who hear it.
Just look at the disciples here in John:
They say they want the truth. But when they get it, they can’t handle it.
The truth does not fit into the world as they know it.
The truth does not make sense.
The truth is a trip down a never-ending rabbit hole full of twists and turns.
The truth puts anyone who receives it, who proclaims it, who lives it at risk.
And they can’t handle it. We see that in their questions, in their repeated requests for proof, in their doubt, and in their running away.
So it is for the disciples of every time and every place.
When Jesus shows us the truth of who we are, how much we need salvation, and offers it freely…
When Jesus reveals the astounding unfairness of God in grace, that we didn’t earn, don’t deserve, and can never pay back…
When Jesus calls us into relationship, not just with him, but with all of God’s broken and beloved world…
When Jesus models a life of self-sacrifice, truth-telling, forgiveness, sharing, and welcome…
We can’t handle it.
And it will take a lifetime and whole lot of Jesus if we hope to even get close.