Jesus’ Last Week and the Spiritual Discipline of Befuddlement

We’re in a situation. We aren’t in charge of things, yet there is a lot going on. Meetings. Whispered conversations. An increasing aura of tension in the atmosphere. We are looking for an anchor. Something stable and permanent within the pending changes.

It’s like the week we now call Holy Week.

Jesus and his friends travel to Jerusalem for the Jewish festival even though everyone warns Jesus not to go. They know there is danger from the establishment.

But Jesus seems more intense than usual. He drops hints about the coming days, but they make no sense. He implies that it should all be clear to them. That he’s already explained everything.

It is not clear. Nothing is clear. Why are we there? What’s going to happen? What is this queasy feeling in the gut that just doesn’t seem to go away?

But the week begins in the suburbs at the house of good friends. That is comforting.

Of course, there is no spiritual discipline called “befuddlement.”

But this word describes how we feel at times. Don’t we sometimes feel that way trying to understand Jesus? He was a man, yet God. Huh? Doesn’t make logical sense.

He taught with stories that left people confused–at least at first. He made people (who cared enough) think about his teaching. Sometimes for months.

I wonder why John devotes about half of his Gospel to the last week. He wrote his account last.  He knew there were plenty of stories of Jesus’ life and teaching. He wrote about what affected him the most deeply.

I think he was there. His family was “connected.” He knew the high priest and most of the leaders. He could have gotten in to the areas. The story reads like a first-hand account. Even though he’s called the most “spiritual” of the disciples and pictured as softer, I see him as a physically strong. He was a commercial fisherman. Not a pale, soft student found in libraries reading all the time.

This week greatly impacted his life. It probably took him years to digest the story in full. Then he shared it with his community and eventually the world.

He took us from befuddlement to the Light of the World.

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