I like that Jesus told stories. It's comforting to me that he chose to bring Truth and Beauty in simple language--plain but hidden, accessible but in need of some mulling over. While the religious leaders adhered to tightly defined rules that governed behavior, Jesus storyed (apparently not a recognized word) generous grace, new life, and harsh judgement, leaving his listeners to puzzle it out.
There is something remarkably inviting about this approach. We are welcomed into the story circle where we get to talk it through together. We don't have access to the Spark Notes, and the teller very rarely explains his tale.
But rather than mull and talk it through together, we tend to want to explain, define and codify things.
(I wonder if that is really our role.)
Today I read three stories in the twenty-first chapter of Matthew and I'm puzzling around with a comment Jesus made.
In his response to the religious leaders Jesus said, quite starkly, "...The tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of you."
Are entering... As far as I can tell, the Greek phrase is present tense. These "unsavory" folks are entering the Kingdom ahead of the seemingly savory ones.
"How are they doing it?" I wondered to myself.
Is it that they see and grasp the grace? Do they grasp (understand) it and grasp (take hold of) it? Without any sense of their own righteousness, do they simply get grace more quickly than the others? Unfettered by a sense of entitlement, are they faster to comprehend how it works?
I don't know the answer, but I'm inspired.
I'm inspired by a picture of people who understand grace as a gift they choose to receive.
I want that for my days.
Yes, I receive the gift of grace today.