Not That Complicated

Humans tend to want things that we can’t simply consume and forget about to be complicated. It’s a natural enough tendency, if I have to think about it a lot, I want it to be a puzzle that I need to tweak and toy with. Many times, especially with philosophy and theology, that isn’t the case.

Jesus is very often telling people who ask him that they are looking for way too much. He lauds the Centurion, who, upon Jesus’ agreement to come and heal his servant, says, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but just say the word and my servant shall be healed.” This guy clearly gets it, to his ordered mind, Jesus says stuff, and it happens. He doesn’t need to make a show of it.

There are plenty of examples of Jesus also telling people to simplify. The rich young ruler that comes to Jesus and agrees that he has followed the law but wants to know what else he can do to to inherit eternal life. Jesus says, essentially, to go simplify his life, selling his worldly possessions and helping people with the proceeds. The man goes away sad, not because he loves his possessions too much, but because he starts complicating the issue (how am I going to do that, what will I live on, how will I tell my family, is that stuff even mine, etc.)

In the gospel for today, Matthew 12:38, Jesus is replying to the Pharisees who are asking him for a sign to prove he is who he says he is. This is what we call, today, looking a gift horse in the mouth. Essentially, the same thing was being asked of the Pharisees that was being asked of the rich young ruler (and of us, you’ll note) to give up what we currently have in helping others, and to do what Jesus does. They were so busy trying to complicate it (is this guy really who he says he is, how can he be doing this stuff but hanging out with the sinners, why isn’t he supporting us in our desire to be free of the Romans) that they missed the simple point of Jesus fulfilling prophecy and completing the teachings of the fathers of the Jewish faith.

So, the question is this, what is God telling you to do that you are complicating?


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