Sunday

21 November 2021

John 18:33-37

Jesus answered, 'Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?' (v. 34)

Psalm 93

Background

I have an unusual first name and it constantly amazes me how many people, on seeing my name written down, immediately replace the letter ‘U’ at the beginning with a double ’O’ sound making me ‘Oona’ and not ‘Una’.  I am constantly misrepresented by people not taking the trouble to listen to what I am actually saying when I tell them my name! Perhaps you have the same problem.

Here it is clear that Jesus has been misrepresented before Pilate – that things have been said about him that are not actually true and Pilate has been misled into thinking that Jesus is heading up a revolution intended to overthrow Roman rule in the province and, possibly, further afield. If he had pronounced himself ‘king’, Jesus would have faced the full might of Roman authority that decreed that all those calling themselves ‘king’ in place of the ruling Romans were to face the death penalty.

The conversation that ensues reminds those who would follow Jesus that we, as he did, constantly live in two kingdoms – the 'now and the not yet' of God’s eternal kingdom and the everyday lives we have as members of the human race. We can be misrepresented in both camps – perhaps being ‘so heavenly minded we are not of earthly use’ or being so grounded in the grit and grime of the everyday that we cannot see God among us in others and in circumstance.

God’s kingdom is both invisible and very visible. It is lived out in the lives of those who believe and try to be imitators of Christ, who knew he straddled the divide between the ‘now and not yet’ of God’s kingdom and was able to live a God-shaped and focussed life in the middle of the muddle of the everyday.

 

To Ponder:

  • Have you ever been misrepresented by others in your life? If so, when and how?
  • When have you caught a glimpse or vision of God or God’s kingdom at work in the world today?

Prayer

Lord of all time and space, open our eyes to see the wonder of your kingdom at work in our everyday lives. Help us to forgive those who misrepresent or reject us, and give us the strength to live our lives in the 'now and the not yet' of your kingdom. Amen.


Bible notes author

The Revd Una McLean

Una is a Methodist minister (presbyter) currently working in Cramlington, Northumberland as part of the South East Northumberland Ecumenical Area. She lives with Patricia her Yorkshire terrier who loves people (but couldn't eat a full one!). Before becoming a minister she worked as an occupational therapist for 20 years in fields as varied as elderly care, adult mental health and paediatrics.

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