Monday, July 20, 2020
One of our family’s traditional foods is a soup. It is made with cream, bacon, potatoes, and dumplings that are called knepfla. The soup is named after the dumplings.
When the soup is cooking, it is necessary to stir the pot so the cream doesn’t scald and stick to the bottom of the pan. It is also necessary to stir the pot when serving the soup as the potatoes and dumplings tend to sink to the bottom. Who wants liquid when there’s bacon, potatoes, and dumplings to eat? So we stir the pot before ladling out our portions.
It is that very concept that originated the saying, “Stir the pot,” in reference to people who intentionally rile things up. Sometimes they do it in an attempt to improve things, but most often people “stir the pot” to cause problems. One of the best definitions of stirring the pot I found is this:
Someone who loves to proliferate the tension and drama between two or more feuding people or groups. They agitate others in public to get a raise out of them in hopes of starting a storm of drama and uncomfortable conflict, sometimes for personal gain but oftentimes just for the thrill of confrontation.
Can anyone say ”middle child”?
In the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus stirs the religious pot. He intentionally forces the Jewish leaders to confront their adherence to the law, and their motivation for doing so. In fact, when the pot didn’t get sufficiently stirred, He returned to make sure it did. Take a moment to read the story.
John 5:1-17 1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
Jesus intentionally stirred the pot of religious obedience to laws, specifically the law of the Sabbath. He healed a lame man on the Sabbath. He instructed the man to break the Pharisees interpretation of the law by carrying his bedmat. Then, when the man forgot to ask who he was, Jesus went back later in the day so that He could be identified, causing an intentional confrontation with the religious leaders.
This week we are going to dig into this story, but for today, contemplate this principle that I believe Jesus was teaching:
The law of doing good always carries more authority than any other law.
What do you think? Have I sufficiently stirred your pot?