Summary: We claim to know too much, as we want to make ourselves elite, we want to close off new ideas. Know nothing but the servant heart (a sermon for deacon ordination).
The psalmist says, “He has put a new song in my mouth.” And so I took that very literally and composed a new song for church today. Do you want to hear me sing it? It’s called, “Blessed ignorance, Jesus is mine”
You say you don’t think you know that one? You say you think I got that wrong? Shouldn’t that be, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine”? There is a song by that name, but that’s not the one I have in mind today. My theme song is “Blessed Ignorance, Jesus Is Mine”! I do realize that this song will not be published in the next edition of the Baptist Hymnal. I am pretty confident it will not be sung around campfires at youth retreats. What is worse, Mr. Hart and Dr. Winfield have absolutely refused to introduce it at choir rehearsals – what insubordination, not to try the pastor’s new song! “Blessed Ignorance, Jesus Is Mine” How come nobody likes my song? Maybe because nobody thinks that ignorance is blessed? Maybe because nobody believes that Jesus is on the side of ignorance?
But there is an issue about ignorance and knowledge. There is an issue about people who know. You see, people who know and who know they know become oppressive. And, equally dangerous, people who don’t know and who don’t know they don’t know become anxious. If we are led by people who know the wrong things and who are ignorant of the right things, we are in trouble. I don’t know about you, but I get suspicious when I am around people who never have questions, but always have answers. I get uncomfortable with people who always have it together, always are correct, always are on the money. I get uncomfortable with folks who never, never say, “I don’t know.” Because there is an issue about people who know and who know they know. There is an anxiety from people who don’t know, but who don’t know that they don’t know.
Blessed ignorance. Blessed ignorance, Jesus is mine.
We’re in our third Sunday now in this 7th chapter of John. As we saw two weeks ago, when Jesus taught about who He was, that was too much for many of them. Some of them wanted their religion remote and cold, academic and distant. The last thing they wanted was a personal relationship with God. They wanted a dry, dusty, intellectual theology, not an intimate love affair with the Lord. Jesus made them uncomfortable when He taught them about Himself. But they did have to agree with one thing, "Never has anyone spoken like this!"
Then last week we saw that when Jesus spoke, He gave the powers that be a bad case of anxiety. They were interested in the law, but He was interested in healing hurting people. They were interested in restricting God for themselves, but He was interested in including all who were thirsty for living water. He scared them, this Jesus; He gave them a serious case of anxiety. But again they had to agree, though they didn’t like it, "Never has anyone spoken like this!"
Today the story reaches its climax, as the religious authorities in and around Jerusalem become thoroughly frustrated. They wanted nothing more than to be rid of this pesky Jesus. He was too much trouble, and they devoutly wished He would just drop into a hole someplace and go away. Have you ever felt that about somebody? They just drive you bananas, and you just wish they would somehow go away! That’s the way they felt about Jesus.
But it was frustrating. The more they challenged Him, the more He seemed to thrive. The more they discouraged the people from listening to Jesus, the more the people turned to Jesus in droves. And so, in profound frustration, the Temple leadership decided to have Jesus arrested. On what charge it is not clear, but frustrated people sometimes act first and think of reasons later. Arrest this Jesus! We’ve had enough of Him!
But, wouldn’t you know it, the Temple police came back in a little while, empty-handed. No Jesus in the paddy wagon. No prisoner in handcuffs. Why not? Why didn’t you arrest Him? They said it, loud and clear, "Never has anyone spoken like this!" We didn’t arrest Him because we didn’t know what to do with Him. He’s different, He’s fresh, He’s exciting, He’s challenging, He’s Jesus. "Never has anyone spoken like this!"
There are at least two issues here. Two issues that lead me to sing, “Blessed ignorance, Jesus is mine.”
The first issue is that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day wanted to establish an elite. They did not want ordinary folks to have spiritual power. They wanted to keep that for themselves. Based on their being in the know, based on their being in the inner circle, they liked being high muckety-mucks and they intended to keep it that way, thank you very much. The religious leadership of Jesus’ day wanted to establish an elite.