Friday, September 10, 2010

"Good cop and bad cop went home. I'm a different kind of cop."

That's what TV's Vic Mackey said before thrashing a bad guy. It came to mind this morning as I read John's category crunching description of Jesus:

"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved... Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, 'See how he loved him!' ...Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb... he cried with a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Unbind him, and let him go.'"

Bible scholars will tell you, rightly, that John is the Gospel writer who goes after the biggest ideas, engaging Greek philosophy with words and ideas that English barely translates. Some push this to say that John's Jesus is above it all, like Max Von Sydow's air brushed movie version.

Yet here this same John must report that Jesus was "disturbed" and in tears, pushed and pulled by the daily tragedies that stalk humanity.

Other Bible commentators will humanize Jesus to suit a cause du jour, from Jefferson's non-miraculous moral teacher to Dan Brown's enlightened-sex-in-the-French-countryside dude.

But here Jesus speaks with power to call life out of the tomb.

What an amazing set of verses. They break down the tidy categories of theology and ideology. We get a "different kind of God" from the one our ideas create.

The mysterious deity of heaven, the one we wave off as "unknowable," walks on the earth and weeps with us. Then this not so amazing Rabbi, the all too human guy who didn't show up when we needed him, raises his voice and banishes death. God with us, God beyond us. God experienced on our terms, God known only on faith's terms.

"Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man..." Council of Chalcedon, 451 AD

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