The part in straight text will be the back page of the bulletin for the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany at Fishkill United Methodist Church. The part in italics was added for this post.
If you were to compare the content of my father’s chemistry text book with the content of the textbooks I used as a student and a teacher, you would see that they are very different. For one thing, in the 1930’s, there were only about 90 elements; today there are at least 118 and the search goes on to find more (see Timeline of chemical element discoveries).
But what if someone decided there was a limit to what one could know in chemistry? What would our world be like today?
Certain theories in place then have been modified, upgraded, or changed. And yet, even with these differences, there is a certain fundamental truth. But you must look for it; it does not come easily. I discussed the idea of changing theories in “A Brief History of Atomic Theory”. Other theories that dominated chemistry for many years were the phlogiston theory and caloric theory. These theories dominated conventional thinking for many years, even with indications that they had changed.
That day in Capernaum 2000 years ago, the people experienced something they didn’t expect. They saw Jesus give meaning to the Scriptures; they saw Jesus use the information in the Scriptures they way it was meant to be used, as an instrument of empowerment and freedom, not slavery and control.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, pointed out that you needed to understand the Law, not just meekly repeat the words of the Law. One characteristic of the Old Testament prophets was their ability to speak to the truth, to go beyond, even when it was not what the people wanted to hear.
Jesus told the people to seek the truth and the truth would set them free. In a world where so many people try to tell us what to think and what is true, Jesus’ words and actions remind us from where the truth comes from.