John 11:47b-48 - “What are we accomplishing?” they (the Pharisees) asked. “Here is
this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
I am a very action-driven person. I love to get things done and see projects completed.
It’s not that I dislike planning, but if planning does not turn to action I grow frustrated. Even more so when my best-laid plans fail I feel defeated; I probably ask the same question “What am I accomplishing?”
Avery studied English at university and thus many of our conversations include
discussions of grammar. If you remember from high school English, ‘I’ and ‘we’ are first-person pronouns. All nouns and pronouns orient the reader to the one either receiving the action or performing the action. In our Scripture for today, the pronoun ‘we’ is associated with the Pharisees who question if they have succeeded in anything.
Why do I find this fascination with pronouns important? Because it shows us the locus of
action in our text. It is personal. It is about the Pharisees. In opposition to Jesus’s reliance upon the Father to direct his life and raise Lazarus from the grave, the Pharisees seek to define their own destiny on their own terms. Namely, the Pharisees are concerned about losing power to the Romans and the nation-state. They have become more sensitive to the political power struggles than to the Holy Spirit. They are more concerned with their desires than the move of God over Israel.
When I pray, I sometimes catch myself using far too many first-person pronouns. I get
focused on myself instead of the will of God. In those moments, I take a deep breath and try to release to the Lord my wants, desires, and life. It is my earnest desire to do the will of the Father, but sometimes ‘I’ get distracted with myself.