Now is the time: misunderstood

Giotto_Lower_Church_Assisi_Crucifixion_0129 The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.

The Gospel according to John is replete with revelation being misunderstood. Nicodemus misses the point in his talk with Jesus, as do many others in their encounter with the Messiah. Perhaps the same is true of the crowds present. There opinions of the sound being thunder or the voice of an angel is headed in the right direction. Thunder was a common religious symbol for the voice of God (e.g., Exod 4:23; Ps 29:3–9), and angels were traditionally understood as God’s messengers (e.g., Gen 16:7; 18:2–8; 19:1; Luke 1:11, 26; 2:9). The crowd’s hearing the voice of God as either thunder or an angel’s voice suggests that the crowd recognized that they were witnesses to an epiphany, some revelation of the divine, but that they missed the point: they were witnesses to the unmediated presence of God in God’s relationship to Jesus. His words in v. 30 underscore that this is indeed what the crowd has missed. Continue reading