The Opposers of Liberty!

The Opposers of Liberty! January 22, 2007

Yesterday for my talk I read from John 7: 37-52. In a profoundly radical statement, Jesus says, “Let anyone who thirsts come and drink.” Jesus makes a simple invitation ascribing spiritual authority to the individual. Each one can come, if they are thirsty, and drink.

But right on the heels of this subversive invitation all kinds of oppositions, obstacles, excuses, distractions and alternatives come rushing in: popular opinion (some say he’s the Prophet, some say he’s the Messiah, some say he’s an Impostor); scriptural authority (essentially, “read the scriptures that say this can’t be possible!”); geography and ethnicity (“if he’s from Galilee, it isn’t valid); government authorities (the temple police don’t know what to do with him); religious and spiritual authorities (the chief priests rule him out); legal authorities (Pharisees); and tradition or historical authority (“No one’s ever talked like this before”).

This isn’t strange, but typical. These are just a few of the things that attempt to prevent us from direct encounter and a spiritual authority that is our own. Everyone else got upset because Jesus was liberating people without anyone else’s permission, endorsement, or approval. Which is why, I think, Jesus said, “Let them come!” I feel my ministry is largely a ministry of removing obstacles and liberating people into their own authority. Let them!
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  • ttm

    Could you elaborate on how an open invitation from Christ to become a recipient of, and a vessel of, Living Water also grants individuals spiritual authority?

    Maybe it’s just an issue of semantics but I always thought that accepting the invitation to drink meant we were submitting to Christ’s authority–removing ourselves from office and inaugurating a new leader.

    Your post has given me something to ponder.

  • We can talk about submission to Christ, which I agree with, in another context. But in this particular context, and what was so radical and disturbing about this particular invitation is that there need be no intermediary, external authority or professional and credentialed permission.

  • ttm

    Thanks for the elaboration…such an invitation definitely would have been radical for that time.

  • jake


  • ttm

    Maybe that’s the point of post, Jake. With Christ, and no God-imposed middle man, each of us has the liberty to overanalyze or to underthink to our heart’s content! (Of course there will always be opposition to that freedom…)

  • Fred

    Given the likely cultural context (especially specifically in the water rite that may have been occurring at this time), I’m not sure nakedpastor is over analyzing.

  • Wow, how refreshing. I like your take on this. I tire of church leaders (both pastors and lay leadership) who feel the need to control every ministry anyone feels led to take up. BTW, I found your site through Today at the Mission.