One time Jesus was in Jerusalem, and
some Judeans (Southerners) looked to pick a fight. They decided to spread fake
news about him: is it not true that you are a Samaritan (Midlander) and that
you are not in your right mind? In fact, this was false on every count: Jesus was
a Judean by birth, and a Galilean (Northerner) by upbringing, and fully in his
right mind. Jesus, however, does not correct them. He simply states, your false
report concerning me is of absolutely no consequence.
Jesus continued, saying, “If anyone puts my teaching into practice, the theatre (theōreō), the whole spectacle of death will not distract them.”
The Judeans retort, “Wait, you’re
claiming that anyone who puts your teaching into practice won’t die? Now we
know you are out of your mind. Everyone dies. Even Abraham, and the prophets,
Jesus makes a point about Abraham
having been able to imagine what Jesus was speaking about, and that Abraham
himself was called into being by I AM, the name by which God was revealed to
Moses (long after Abraham) as the God of the living not the dead.
At this point, the Judeans decide to
prove Jesus a mad man by stoning him to death, public execution, the very
highest expression of the art form of the theatre of death. But while they
search for stones, Jesus disappears into the crowd of worshippers and slips out
of the temple, hidden in plain sight, thus demonstrating the truth of his words
that the theatre of death is no distraction to his actions.
Of course, a time will come when
Jesus does undergo public execution, but even then the theatre of death does
not distract or derail or contain him. In fact, it is taken up within a greater
theatre of life.
The theatre of death is available
24/7, on more channels than we can ever imagine. But being distracted by it is
not inevitable. Taking part in it is not inevitable. We are called, instead, to
enact the theatre of life, through which God is made visible in our
imaginations, in our lives, and, through our lives, in the world around us.