Here are my thoughts for the “Back Page” of the Fishkill United Methodist Church for this coming Sunday, February 9, 2020, 5th Sunday after the Epiphany (Year A). This is also Boy Scout Sunday.
When the disciple Nathaniel Bartholomew was first told about Jesus being the Messiah, he asked “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” This question reflected the rather unfavorable and common wisdom of the time about the inhabitants of Nazareth.
There are times when we are no different than Nathaniel. As I mentioned to Pastor two weeks ago, some of the people I know from high school 50 years ago still hold onto ideas more suited to the 18th century rather than the 21st century. And rather than trying to bring their minds, they rely on “experts” to tell them what to think. And in their view, woe to those who might question such out-of-date ideas.
Paul, when he was Saul, was one of those “experts”; like so many then (and today), one did not question the Scripture and those who did were to be punished. But after his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, he understood that there was more than just an adherence to the Law. This is what Jesus told the authorities when he said that He was the fulfillment of the Law. Life is more than just a rigorous adherence to the Law; it is about how one lives, a thought echoed by Isaiah when he told the people of Israel God was more interested in seeing what they did rather than knowing they simply adhered to the Law.
There is a need for experts but not to tell you what to do or what to think. They can show you the way but you have to make the decision to travel in that direction. In a sense, we are each an expert, for by our actions, we will show others who the Messiah is and we will be able to help them meet the Messiah on their own.