Arguments vs. Face to Face Reality
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”
And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”
Mark 9:14–19 ESV Read More
Have you ever walked in on a fight? Even if you aren’t a part of it, there is a tension in the room. After talking to Moses and Elijah, after being transformed to show off the glory of the Lord, after telling Peter, James, and John about how He must suffer and rise from the dead, Jesus comes down the hill to a squabble with the scribes.
They aren’t arguing over some small thing. One big difference between their culture and our culture is the way they taught. Disciples would follow and learn from a rabbi to become an exact duplicate of him. The idea is that if you spoke to a rabbi, you would be speaking to somebody like Moses. Yes, their educational lineage went back that far!
The scribes have been looking to oppose Jesus any way they can. When they come upon a boy that the disciples can’t heal, that means that Jesus wouldn’t be able to heal him either. The scribes would take advantage of the weakness in the disciples to attack Jesus, so you can understand where there would be a conflict!
The guy that is most affected by the conflict doesn’t care at all. When Jesus asks “What are you arguing about?” the guy doesn’t take sides or present an argument. “My son is possessed by an evil spirit!” is his only concern.
A lot of times it’s easy to think the conflict is about the conflict. This side vs. that side and these reasons against those reasons. The fact is, real people are more important than arguments. In 1917, the Russian Orthodox church was holding councils to argue about whether the robes should be purple or white. At the same time, Vladimir Lenin was forming and starting the Bolshevik Revolution. In a few years, Communism would rule the new Soviet Union and those robes, purple or white, would be outlawed.
Jesus didn’t argue with the scribes. When the real issue came up and the real problem was identified, it wasn’t something to make a manifesto about. It was a person that needed Jesus. Every single argument boils down to that. There are ideas and movements, but people need to have a face to face with Jesus. He blows away every argument. He walks us through every struggle.
I wonder how this would have been different if the disciples would have sat down and said, “This is beyond us. Let’s wait and see what Jesus says and ask Him. Let’s ask Him face to face.”
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