From today’s reading of Matthew 3, Mark 1 and Luke 3

“And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” – John the Baptist, quoted in Matthew 3:9

One reason, I think, that Jesus stirred up so much angst and astonishment among the elites and the “haves” of his day – and still does, because this is still his day – is because he is the supreme foundation kicker-out-from-underer (Hey, it’s past 2am. You shouldn’t expect lucid writing here).

“We have Abraham as our father!” is just one of many spiritual safety nets that the leaders of his time had setup. It basically was shorthand for “I’m in”. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the people, so he dismantles the Abraham patrimony argument, kind of as a primer for everyone, anticipating the much greater dismantlings to come from Jesus. Jesus was so good at destruction of this sort that John wasn’t worthy to change the oil in Jesus’ sledgehammer.

Jesus dismantled the fence laws that had been erected to keep everyone from breaking the real laws. He dismantled notions of self-righteousness, the proto-prosperity gospel that prompted questions such as “What caused this man to be born blind? Was it his sin or his parents’ sin?” Jesus caused rocks to fall from hands that had flung many, and could make other hands urgently reach for rocks to throw at him. He shook up the demonic world that had grown fat, lazy and used to long, comfortable stays in their hosts. He turned over tables in the temple that had seen a comfortable, brisk business through the years, and broke all the first century Emily Post etiquette rules about letting prostitutes near oneself when dining with the upper crust. He saved the best wine for last.

Jesus wasn’t interested in loud declarations of one’s exalted station and dignified silence when some undignified rejoicing and worship were called for.

For those who chose to be deaf and blind to what he was about, the stones would do just fine.

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