Like Tevye pestering his wife in “Fiddler of the Roof” Jesus pesters us as well: “Do you love me?” He persistently needles us into action by confronting us with the most important question, for our answer to “Do you love me?” matters more than anything else.
Plot twists force us to rethink everything in light of what’s been true from the beginning. This is what makes plot twists so interesting. In the prologue of John’s Gospel, Jesus is the “Word” that changes everything. He is the new twist to the plot that redefines everything.
We believe what we do not completely understand or feel. Because of this, we are tempted to establish more “certain” criteria to evaluate our spiritual state. Through a preoccupation with legalism, mysticism, or ascetism, we lose focus on Christ… and become proud, self-centered, and exclusive.
No matter how prepared we think we are, we are never quite prepared for the shock of resurrection. We must not domesticate the event. It is wild and untamed, unforeseen and unexpected. It casts its shadow (or better, light) on all that precedes it. Easter should always come as a surprise. Yet it is the only event that makes sense of all that Jesus taught.
“All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” The tempter invites Jesus to secure the cooperation of the nations through the tried and true way of political force; to use questionable means – the ways of the world – for good ends. And the force of the temptation – its main allure to Jesus – was that this kind of power works!