A Cameo Appearance

Reading in the latter part of John 2 this morning. And I encountered a phrase that caught my eye the first time I read it and then really jumped off the page when it occurred again only a couple of verses later. And the impression it’s leaving on me is that of a cameo appearance. The sort of thing you might encounter in a movie or play where, unexpectedly, the author of the story appears briefly in some non-speaking bit part. They might show up in the background cast of people walking down a street . . . or, as the camera pans a crowd of people in a room, there they are . . . or, they quickly walk into the scene from the left, perform some minor action like serving a tray of hors d’oeuvres and then exit, stage left. As I was reading John this morning, I think the Holy Spirit might have made a cameo appearance . . .

The stage is the temple in Jerusalem. The backdrop is the making ready for Passover. And the scene? Well, Jesus is making a scene! He finds an unholy commerce occurring within the temple walls and is moved to action. Making a whip of cords, he drives out those turning a profit by selling animals for sacrifice. In addition, turning over their tables, He puts a stop to the money-changers charging exorbitant mark-up rates to exchange foreign currency brought by pilgrims wanting to pay the temple tax. “Take these things away,” Jesus says, “do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Cue cameo appearance one . . .

His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume Me.” (John 2:17 ESV)

The Jews, referring to the Jewish leaders I think, don’t take well to this and challenge Jesus’ outlandish actions. They demand some sign from Jesus as to His credentials to exercise such authority over the temple court. Jesus replies, “Destroy the temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” They thought he was talking about the physical temple they stood in . . . ludicrous! But Jesus was talking about “the temple of His body.” Cue cameo appearance number two . . .

When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:22 ESV)

Did you see Him? The Author of God’s inspired Word briefly, almost imperceptibly, showing up in His own work? I think He’s there in the repeated phrase, “His disciples remembered.”

Sure the disciples were trained in the Scriptures, as were all Jewish young men. But at that moment when Jesus is literally turning the place upside down, a light bulb goes on connecting His actions and His words with the words of a king recorded in Psalm 69. Later, after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, these same disciples would have another “aha moment” as they recalled Jesus’ promise that day to raise up the temple of His body three days after it was destroyed and left lifeless. And though it was they who heard the words, I’m thinking it was Another who again connected the dots. Isn’t that the ministry of God through His manifestation in the Person of the Holy Spirit?

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26 ESV)

That’s why we continue to take in the Word. That’s why we ask for ears to hear and eyes to see. So that, perhaps when least expected, we have a encounter of the divine kind. The Spirit of God bringing to remembrance something concerning the Son so that we might glorify the Father. Not “aha moments” of our own making, nor dependent on our own intellect, but of His gracious determination, visitation, and illumination.

O’ that I might notice Him more in the background. By His grace . . . for His glory.

Amen?

 

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