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, died.”
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.
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