The Daily Office, December 31

December 31, 2006

From today’s Daily Office, a huge theological statement, and a great rule of life for all of us to imitate:

John 15:15:

Jesus said, “You judge by human standards; I judge no one.”

j

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7 Responses to “The Daily Office, December 31”

  1. D Hamilton Says:

    Jeff – do not succumb to the urge to quote a single passage out of context. It might be individually comforting but not worthy of learned discourse.

    12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

    13 The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

    14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

    19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”

    “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.

    21 Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”

    22 This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”

    23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be,* you will indeed die in your sins.”

    25 “Who are you?” they asked.

    “Just what I have been claiming all along,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”

    27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.

    D

  2. Jeff Says:

    D –

    Happy New Year, and thanks for posting.

    First let me say that the post was not intended as an exegetical exercise, but as a spiritual exercise– something to hold in meditation and prayer; to contemplate how one’s life might be affected and changed if the selected text was implemented in one’s life. Doing such a spiritual exercise requires only an openness to God’s small, still, voice in prayer as one ponders the question while allowing whatever comes to be the answer– neither placing a good nor bad value judgment on the initial question.

    Second, if we do take an exegetical approach, I respectfully disagree with your assessment.

    I believe the point of the passage is this: Jesus starts with the basic truth: he is not here to judge. He then develops it in typical Jesus form giving a layered response that both meets people where they are and challenges them to move further. In doing so there is a contradiction– “I am not here to judge”/”I am here to judge”.

    There are, of course, many passages referring to withholding judgment. Judge not lest ye be judged, cast ye not the first stone, etc.

    There are, of course, many passages referring to judgment, however they are usually mentioned in the context of getting people to take the right action. (It should be noted that it takes a sufficiently developed society to take the right action without the threat of punishment as a motivator, and the conditions for that type of society did not exist in Jesus’ time.)

    One must look at the overall narrative of the text to get the entire context and decide how to interpret the contradictions. The overall narrative points towards a God of lovingkindness, a God for ALL the nations/people, social justice, and a revelatory God who works actively in the world.

    See today’s post.

    j

  3. jonolan Says:

    Just a thought:

    Mankind is the creation of God. God granted that creation the capacity for judgement. Should we not exercise that gift?

    “Judge not lest ye be judged”

    What if a man accepts that consequence? What if I choose to pass judgement on another in full knowledge that, in doing so I will myself be judged?

    I like the “cast not the first stone passage”. I never took it though as a “judgement” issue, but rather as a “sentencing” issue. Judgement is my right, sentencing isn’t.

    Again, just a thought.

  4. Jeff Says:

    Jonolan –

    I think you may be confusing secular judgement- judgement for the law of man– from judgement in the context of the passage you referenced.

    Of course we pass judgement to keep order in society.

    That is different than judgement we pass on each other in daily life which breaks down love and the bonds of community life. That is the real point.

    j

  5. Jeff Says:

    The Daily Office for today caught my interest, and reminded my of the conversation in this thread- it is largely, I think, a semantic discussion.

    Romans 14:10-13 –

    Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’ So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

    j

  6. jonolan Says:

    But, as thinking individuals with the capacity to understand right from wrong, are we not required to try to stop wrondoing? If we see that which we have been taught is wrong, should we not attempt to end such behavior? doing so requires the act of judgmement on our part.

    If a person has the concept of sin as part of their beliefs, wouldn’t failing to attempt to stop sinfullness be, in effect implicitely condoning it?

  7. Jeff Says:

    Of course. And that is why, in the other thread, I asked if you had studied theology, or on what basis you were making some of your judgments about it.

    Jesus clearly indicated that we are to make judgments about justice and oppression. His message indicates that judgments that build up love (judgments for justice) are worthwhile, and that judgments that tear down love (such as the ones in Romans that Paul mentions) are not.

    As with everything Biblical, you cannot take the text literally, or take the text out of its original context. That would be bad theology.

    j


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