A little dash of Greek: syniēmi
A soupçon of translation: to send together; met. to understand, comprehend thoroughly, to perceive clearly, absol. to be well judging, sensible, to be spiritually intelligent, to be religiously wise
Bill Mounce Greek Dictionary
“Have you understood?” has one of two answers – yes or no (or in my case – usually a very long-winded third option).
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’ When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place. Matthew 13:47-53
Have you understood all this?
“Yes. We comprehend thoroughly, we perceive clearly, we are spiritually intelligent, sensible, and religiously wise. Thank you.”
Yesterday I was touched by a short video: “I’ll sit with you in the dark” – and this morning God Soft Hands Jesus plucked another phrase from that same video:
“I didn’t have $120 and didn’t know where to get it … “
And then He asked me this –
“So what would this story have been if Hugh Hollowell had found $120? Would that have made an emotive story? Would you have plucked that video from YouTube – or moved on to another?”
Recently I said “no” to a relative. It was a family gathering. A wonderful afternoon. And then we were gently asked (by one family member) to support their fundraising for the church – a beautiful church – been here for hundreds of years – imagine if it wasn’t … Guilt was the expected response (as I found out from others who had said yes).
And I wonder this morning – just as God Soft Hands Jesus asked: if Hugh Hollowell HAD been able to find $120 – what would I have done with this video?
Because I see a lot of Christians who are comfortable in their faith. Who have a wallet big enough to peel off a few notes when asked. Who already give enough to be guilt-immune: “I would love to …but I already support …. sorry!“
I see a lot of wallets grudgingly opened and offerings offered. It’s what Christians do. It’s what churches do. But …
“I’ll sit with you in the dark … “
Firstly, I would need to know you well enough. Secondly, I have a very full diary of commitments already – so just when are your lights going off? Thirdly, I wouldn’t feel safe with you on my own – let me ask the minister what they think. And … well … is there really no one else you can ask … ?
I see so many programmed to the guilt-tripping of giving (maybe because churches do so much of it!) But detached from the humanity. Disconnected by the walleting. And that is why I think “I’ll sit with you in the dark” connects –
It is what we all know we should be doing really – but until someone else does it first – says it’s okay – does a rota – puts it in the diary … And anyway – we would feel a bit silly really – sitting there in the dark doing “nothing” … And anyway – my church never expects that of me – they always ask for money so someone else can do that kind of thing.
And then along comes Hugh Hollowell. And we know. We understand.
In these few verses in Matthew, Jesus does not say He will “fix things” for us – He does not say He will fix things for anyone. He does say that we are all the same, that we all live together, that we all are allowed to be who we are. Jesus is not saying Christians must fix things by peeling off a few more notes (or not). So why do churches so often take that approach? Is it because that is what we prefer? Is it because we can – because it is easy – safe – sanitised – and “enough”?
“To me … He’s not a God who gets us out of crap … He’s a God who sits with us in the crap … ”
I read these verses and I hear Jesus saying “I WILL sit with you in the crap – do you UNDERSTAND?”
Yes I do. And I also hear His invitation to me in those words.
What about you?