Remember poor Elmer Fudd? Bugs Bunny would always seem to get the better of him and pronounce Elmer “a maroon” (aka moron). “Whadda maroon,” he would say. I think we tend to say this about the disciples. In all of the Bible studies in which I’ve participated, in lots of sermons and in general study, I think most people would say the 12 just didn’t get it. “What a bunch of maroons,” Bugs would have said regarding the disciples. “How could they not know?” we ask. Did they not realize after being in the presence of Jesus just what was going on? But the fact that they didn’t is personally one of the most encouraging things in the Gospels.
Here I am, 2000 years later, give or take, knowing the story, having access to print, internetany information regarding Jesus’ ministry, and guess what? Yeah, most of the time I’m a maroon who doesn’t get it. Little has changed and yet everything has changed.
I don’t think I give enough thought to the fact that Jesus remains one of the, if not the, greatest radicals that ever lived, speaking the truth and exposing the underbelly of humankind. The political correctness of today would be shattered to smithereens. “You hypocrites,” “brood of vipers,” “blind fools,” “white washed tombs,” he says. Jesus holds no punches back. Not vindictive but keenly aware of our human brokenness, he calls them like he sees them. People generally don’t like radicals. Governments surely don’t. And well, those justly given the spotlight certainly don’t. A hit to our egos, fear of judgment and exposure are the motives for defense.
Through all my exposure to and study of the Gospels, I don’t really associate with the Pharisees and legal experts. These are the targets of much of Jesus’ explosive accusations. I find myself standing apart from them. Yet many a personal motive could easily elicit a tongue lashing from Jesus as they are unfortunately in line with them. I care about what people say, I like material things and I want to be liked and thought well of. I sometimes feel good in an egotistical way when I’ve done something magnanimous. Yikes, it’s all about me. I may think I can’t associate, but guilt would tell me otherwise.
But like the disciples, I am at the same time engaged, enthralled, captivated, fearful and timid as I wrestle and struggle with the nature of God and God as man. Bumbling around I go, sometimes getting it right, most of the time not. Always pierced by the truth of Jesus, I am grateful for being known and loved, warts and all; and just like a leaky cup, as I am filled so I am emptied. I am in so many ways just like the ones who didn’t get it. Thank God.