Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Digging Deeper: An Additon to the House

During Jesus’ final meal with his disciples, he washes their feet and he says he has a new command for them, which is to simply “love each other.” He then tells them that one of their own is going to betray him and he indicates who it will be by giving them a piece of bread. Judas receives the bread and then leaves the room, walking out into the darkness. Jesus then tells them that he is going to a place where they cannot follow him, and they become upset.

But he says to them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” 

What Jesus is talking about here is a reference to something that occurred during the marriage practices of the culture at the time. During that time and in that culture, the wife would move in with the husband into something called an insula – which is actually a house that was added on as a part of his own parents’ house.

Each son would add a few rooms to the house so that multiple generations, aunts, uncles, and cousins all lived in the same complex. 

In the world at the time that Jesus began his ministry, Jewish girls would get married typically between the ages of fourteen and fifteen. Husbands were typically in their mid-twenties. The family of the husband would pay the “bride price” or dowry. And the husband would go home to prepare a place for her — which often took months or years to prepare. 

And the bride had no way of knowing when the groom would come for her. She just had to be ready. When the insula was finished, the groom and his friends would go get the bride. But during this time of waiting, she was one who was “bought with a price.”

They would gather in the courtyard, and the man would take the woman into their home and consummate the wedding. And, as we’ve learned before, the best man would actually stand outside the door and shout when he could hear the evidence that the marriage had been officially consummated. (I know, right?) This would in turn trigger a long celebration with family and friends.

As we learned before, this image of marriage is also what John the Baptist was talking about when he came up with the parable of Jesus as the groom and himself as the best man. When John says that his “joy is made complete” at the “coming” of Jesus, this is what people would say about the best man when he finally got to stop listening in on the marriage consummation. “His joy is made complete!”

And so both John the Baptist at the beginning of the story, and Jesus, nearing the end, give this picture of God’s family as being joined together in a marriage.
But when Jesus announces that he is going away, and that they know the way that he is going, Thomas pipes up and says, “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going, so how can we know the way?” 

But Jesus answers, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 

In the books of Acts, the early church, before they get the label “Christian” attached to them, they are known as “The Way.” This makes since if we see the church as an extension of Christ’s own body. If Christ is The Way to God, then his body, the church, also exists as The Way to God. And how does God choose to save people? Through other people! We are his “hands and feet.”

But then Philip says to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 

And Jesus is like, “Don’t you know me, Philip, after all this time?” 

He tells Philip that he has already seen the Father because he has seen the Son. 

Jesus also says, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments!