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What Was the Punch Line?


Have you ever been told an extremely long joke, one that drags on and on, keeping you in suspense? Come the end of it, you're hanging on to every word and waiting for the punch line. However, the joke was good, up until the end. There was no funny finale, but a let down. Sometimes, the one telling the joke even forgets the punch line, jumbling the joke and confusing everyone. How do you react then? Usually, there is confusion and a sigh of disappointment, seeing as the punch line was 'misleading' to us, or not as good of a finale as we'd originally anticipated. People expect to know and understand everything in life through being faithful and believing, but for many, unfortunately, they miss the point, like the plot line of a joke.

Today's Gospel states: 'It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one"' (John 10:22-30).

Jesus tells the the people gathered that they are missing the point, the main reason he came. They are so concerned with the question of whether he is the Christ they envisioned, the triumphant hero who was to lead them out of persecution. They could not see how the messiah could be one who suffers, a person of the poor. Jesus is trying to give them the most important message: that he is one with God, connected eternally and through taking in his message, the people are doing God's will. They couldn't understand, or 'get the punch line' because they were not listening. They had a different vision, and so were not excited or understanding of his teaching, but passive. Let us take time to focus on what Jesus taught us, taking time with scripture each day to help us understand Jesus' message.

Today's prayer comes from 'Knowing Jesus' a prayer for knowing truth:

Lord it was You Who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. Teach us today in the power of Your Holy Spirit the truths that You would have us learn today, Lord we know that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Feed us on Your word we pray and make us hungry for the living Manna that came down from heaven - the heavenly Bread of Life and true and living Water – Who alone can bring us into our eternal inheritance – for it is through Jesus Christ our Lord that we pray. May the Spirit of all Truth open our minds today as we read and study Your word and may we be willing to be led into all truth and to be taught what is the will of the Father in each of our lives – and give us willing hearts and the opportunity to share with others the pearls of truth You would teach us today, Amen


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