What happened when the religious leaders sent the temple police to arrest Jesus? Jesus was out in the open there in the temple courts. The police should have no problem arresting him. But in the previous post, there is no mention of the police. You’d think they would have shown up and put Jesus in chains. But they didn’t. Where are they? We find out what happened in John chapter 7, verses 45-52,
“Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, ‘Why didn’t you bring him in?’ ‘No one ever spoke the way this man does,’ the guards replied. ‘You mean he has deceived you also?’ the Pharisees retorted. ‘Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.’ Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, ‘Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?’ They replied, ‘Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee’.”
The temple police return from their mission empty-handed! Their reasoning is curious, “No ever spoke like Jesus does.” You cannot put Jesus in a box. He shatters the box. It should be a simple thing, a bunch of police arresting a noncombatant. But they don’t or won’t or can’t. No one could. All we read multiple times in John chapter 7 is that when people wanted to seize him, they couldn’t. They couldn’t even put Jesus in a literal box, let alone the figurative one. He exceeds all expectations. He will only be put in a box when he allows himself to, when the time is right.
For now, the leaders are really angry at their temple guards. It is nice to see Nicodemus speak up on Jesus’ behalf, kind of, at least arguing for a fair trial, but the other leaders are completely blinded by their anger. They are so certain of their Messiah box, and so desperate to hold on to their power and position, they refuse any other viewpoint or opinion. They cannot accept even the tiniest possibility that they are wrong. They demonstrate the heights of hubris, arrogance, pride, and in so doing they show they are not only wrong about Jesus, but they do not have a desire to live the way of God. A prophet sometimes does come out of Galilee.
Do you have a box for Jesus? I suspect we all do. I’ve had Jesus boxes myself over the years. Long ago it was the “Say a pray to Jesus, accept his as your personal Lord and Savior, and you’ll go to heaven” box. But in time I learned he couldn’t fit in that box. He shattered that box, teaching me that his heart is that all people would experience not just eternal life one day, but abundant flourishing life now, actively working to bring his Kingdom of justice on earth now.
Then I had the “reading your Bible is the only way to interact with God box”. He shattered that box by teaching me that he wants us to listen to his Spirit, and hear what he is saying through the community of disciples.
At other times I had the “study the end times prophecy box, to learn the signs of the times.” He shattered that box too, teaching me to dig deep into developing the Fruit of the Spirit and seeking to help other people become his disciples who also develop the Fruit of the Spirit in their lives now.
Who knows what other boxes I have now that he’ll shatter. I hope and pray that in 5 years, 10 years, and every 5 years or so, I’ll have a new list of ways that my understanding of Jesus has grown.
Shatter the box. Come to Jesus, asking him to take away any misinformed, misconceived notions of who he is. Ask the Spirit to help you see Jesus for who he really is. Then look for Jesus where he said to look or him, in the sick, the hungry, the prisoner, the stranger, the lonely. Get out of your comfort zone, get away from the ease of the norm where Jesus is comfortable and affirms you, and start following him into a place that might feel scary, risky. There Jesus says, “I am with you, love like me. You’re going to get to know me in a whole new way. And you’ll find it is better by far.”