Scripture Focus: John 12.16
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. 

Reflection: Not Getting It
By John Tillman

John tells us that nearly everything Jesus said and did, and what was done to him was written about in the scriptures. Yet, it still surprised everyone. They did not get it.

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “You worship what you do not know,” and in some ways that is true of all generations before Jesus.

In the stories of every patriarch, prophet, priest, or king, we see moments God surprised them. There were twists and turns in the biblical narrative when God’s unsuspected, and sometimes counterintuitive, plans and purposes were revealed.

Jesus’ enemies, disciples, and followers had been waiting for the Messiah to come. The religious leaders studied the scriptures diligently, searching for him. (John 5.39-40) The Samaritans, hated by the Jews, still believed in the Messiah and waited for him. (John 4.19-26) The Magi traveled from distant lands looking for him. (Matthew 2.1-2) They all had expectations that came from scripture and prophecy.

Some things nearly everyone got right, starting with the place of his birth, Bethlehem. Herod’s scholars knew exactly where to send the searching Magi. (Matthew 2.4-8) When Phillip told Nathanael that he thought Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, Nathanael scoffed that nothing good could come from Nazareth. (John 1.45-46) Later, opponents of Jesus also considered Nazareth, in Galilee, a location that disqualified Jesus from being taken seriously. (John 7.52)

Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20.29) The disciples saw and touched Jesus, but in some ways, we see more of Jesus through the written gospels and the rest of the New Testament than they did at that time. There was more to be revealed.

“We did not get it,” John says. (John 12.16)  “We did not understand what Jesus was doing or saying. We did not understand what was happening because we did not understand what had been written.”

If the learned religious leaders who opposed Jesus and the earnest disciples who were so close to him could make errors, we can too. To take God seriously is to follow him humbly. To be surprised by God is to know him better than we did before.

If God surprised men and women all through the scriptures, he will surprise us. God has surprises in store for you this year. Humbly examine your assumptions and look for the unexpected.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Search for the Lord and his strength; continually seek his face. — Psalm 105.4

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 12 (Listen 2:21
John 12 (Listen 6:26)

This Weekend’s Readings
Job 13 (Listen 2:27John 13 (Listen 5:06)
Job 14 (Listen 2:23John 14 (Listen 4:13)

Monday’s Readings
Job 15 (Listen 3:23John 15 (Listen 3:20)

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Read more about Mary and Judas
Mary did the theological math. She gave her offering knowing Jesus was about to give his life. Judas did some math as well. He realized that he didn’t want to follow