Posted on September 24, 2014
#72: Jesus, Outside the Box
At the end of a busy day, I love a few minutes of “me” time. I used to unwind with a cup of tea. A good book. A soak in a hot tub. I still like all those end-of-day relaxers. But now, my favorite treat is time on Pinterest.
Have you been bitten by the Pinterest bug? If so, you know how quickly minutes can turn to hours, browsing through ingenious ideas in dozens of categories. Again and again I say to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” as I see new uses for items I’d only thought of in one way.
For instance, I used to think an old wooden ladder was helpful when changing a light bulb; now I know there are at least twenty-five ways to decorate using an old wooden ladder! Paper doilies used to line serving trays, but now I can make fifty Christmas ornaments from them. Tissue boxes become attractive storage units. Toothpaste becomes a hole-filling painter’s friend. And pop can tabs! Who would’ve dreamed how many uses pop can tabs have?
Pinterest’s vast appeal centers around creatively thinking “outside the box.” It’s also shown us how easily we fall into mental ruts about the simplest things—and how exciting it can be to open our eyes to the possibilities.
Grab your Bible and read Mark 12:35-37. Also take a look at the companion passages in Matthew 22:41-46 and Luke 20:41-44.
Jesus had been hounded throughout His ministry by champion rut-thinkers: the Pharisees and teachers of the law. They considered themselves experts in the scriptures. They were sure they had the Messiah all figured out—and Jesus definitely didn’t fit their concept. His dealings with them had a common design: to pry open the box they’d put the Messiah in, opening their eyes to the possibility that He was indeed the Promised One.
With time ticking away—only two days left until His arrest and trial—Jesus turned the tables, presenting them with a testing question. Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1. In it, David—king of Israel and the Jews’ cherished ancestor—sings a prophecy about the Messiah, calling Him “Lord.” Jesus compares this to the teaching of Israel’s leaders that the Christ would be a “son” of David. Then He asks, “If David called Him ‘Lord,’ how can the Messiah also be his son?” If both were true, the Messiah would have to be both human (David’s descendant) and divine (David’s Lord)–which is, incidentally, exactly how Paul described Jesus in Romans 1:1-4.
In a few phrases He stumps them, showing himself to be light years beyond them in wisdom and scriptural understanding. Matthew wrote, “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask Him any more questions.” (Mt. 22:46)
Jesus wanted them to think outside their religious box, to acknowledge that they might not know everything about the Christ. His tactic is still a great approach to unbelievers today. If they will admit the slightest possibility of error, they crack open a door that might eventually lead to belief.
His words also speak to those of us today who think we know Him. He is far more than we can define or explain. Every time we try to fit Him into a preconceived box, He opens our eyes to some new facet of Himself (often the reason He permits trials in our lives) that clues us in to how much we have to learn.
I believe that when we finally see Him in all His magnificence, we’ll see the pitiful inadequacy of our boxes–our ideas of Him. His thoughts are higher, His ways greater, His purposes broader than we can conceive. Romans 11:33-36 reminds us of His greatness and our own smallness:
“Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?
Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”
Thanks for joining me for today’s Knowing Jesus. Please remember that you can have each week’s post delivered straight to your inbox by just subscribing at right. Praying God’s best for you during the coming week!
© Diane McLoud 2014