Viewpoint from Rev Daniel Pritchard 30/07/2021
Rev Daniel Pritchard
Deputy Lead Chaplain – James Paget University Hospital
In recent weeks, one thing has dominated the headlines and, sometimes, these Mercury Viewpoint articles. So, I am not even going to mention it! Not once
I thought perhaps I should change the subject
That got me thinking, about times when Jesus changed the subject. He had a way of turning things around so that people found themselves having to think personally about issues they we might rather avoid! I'll give you my examples, but you may well remember some others
In Matthew’s Gospel chapter 16, Jesus and His disciples arrived at a place called Caesarea Philippi, where He asked them a seemingly innocuous question: “Who do people say I am?” They gave him various replies: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets”. Today, as then, people have all kinds of opinions about who Jesus was (and is) and there is no shortage of answers or opinions! But look at how Jesus flips the question. “But what about you, who do you say I am?” Isn’t that still the crunch question? So what about you? Who do you say Jesus is?
A rich young man asked what good thing he could do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19). With his wealth and obedience to the law, he thought he was well set, until Jesus changed the subject, inviting him to put aside anything of himself that he might depend on and simply become a follower, a disciple. “Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” He said, and we are told the young man went away very sad, unable to relinquish his great wealth. I wonder what holds you or me back from simply following Christ today
Lastly, I remember the lawyer in Luke’s Gospel chapter 10 who, encouraged that to “love his neighbour” was a key to life, tried to justify himself by asking “and who is my neighbour?” Jesus told the famous story of the Good Samaritan (a contradiction in terms for his listeners) and then flipped the question, asking “which of these three was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” leaving only one answer available: “The one who showed mercy” revealing that my neighbour is anyone, whatever their creed, colour, or religion who needs my help. Who might that be for me, for you, today?
also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury
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