Monday, October 22, 2007

Just Tell Me... I'll Believe You

In Mel Gibson's movie, A Man Without A Face, there is a young boy, Charles, who seeks the help of Mr. McCloud to get ready for an entrance exam into an Academy. Now Mr. McCloud is a man of mystery in those parts, largely because of his recluse lifestyle and disfigured face. But as it turns out, Mr. McCloud was a teacher once and longed for the opportunity to teach again. Out of that teacher-student relationship, a friendship was formed.

Unfortunately, Charles' home life is a mess and one night after an episode, he flees to Mr. McCloud's home. An awkward scene follows in the morning when the police come to pick Charles up. You see, Charles' family was unaware of his relationship with Mr. McCloud. The situation is exacerbated when it comes to light that Mr. McCloud's disfigurement was the result of a car crash which claimed the life Mr. McCloud's passenger, a boy who was one of students. Allegations of sexual abuse came up in Mr. McCloud's manslaughter trial.

Charles is shocked. In the following clip, we see Charles stealing away to Mr. McCloud's house because he's determined to find out the truth...

video

In Matthew 11, we see that John the Baptist is in prison and his death is drawing near. Earlier, he had baptized Jesus of Nazareth, sure that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. But in the depths of a dungeon, doubt grew. So he sent of his disciples to inquire as to whether Jesus was truly "The One."

Check out the whole chapter @: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mt%2011&version=31

John's disciples ask Jesus point blank, but Jesus puts the ball back in their court somewhat. He doesn't just "come out and say it." Oh, he gives them ample evidence, but I can sense John's disciples' consternation... "Is that a 'yes'? I think he said 'yes'? Did you hear him say 'yes'? Oh, come on Jesus, just give us a 'yes' or 'no'!" But Jesus doesn't make it so easy. Now by the end of the chapter, Jesus is perfectly clear. But at the same time, he leaves that little margin of space over which his inquirers must step. He forces them to come to their own conclusion.

Just like Mr. McCloud did with Charles. Jesus provides more than enough information, but he will not "fill in the blank" for those who "want to know". Why is that? I'm convinced it's not because Jesus is being coy or evasive. Perhaps he pushes the burden of decision back on his inquirers because something inside of us happens when we're forced to make our own minds up. We own those kinds of decisions. We move from the realm of shallow belief to that of bedrock conviction and that, I think, is what Jesus is looking for in us.

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