In Part II of this blog series, the Gospel of John, invites us to watch Jesus taunt the ancient serpent. He goads the devil that hides behind timekeeping images. He reveals the accusatory nature of its voice, diminishes its authority, and exposes the idolatrous worship of the lesser government. Jesus repeatedly provokes those who listened to its voice, elevated its authority, and worshiped the images where the satan hides.

After the wedding at Cana, Jesus traveled to Judea where he cleansed the temple, talked with Nicodemus, and asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. On the way back to Cana, he healed the son of a Galilean official before arriving in Galilee. Thus, in the early chapters of John, Jesus demonstrates his intention to upset the social norm. He draws attention to himself, but only for a brief time.

By the 5th chapter of John, we discover Jesus’ direct attack on the satan by choosing to violate the Sabbath Day laws. While most scholars focus on Jesus’ desire to call out the spirit of legalism, we should consider the possibility that something deeper was at play. Jesus could have violated any law, but he chose the one law associated with the measurement of time. In doing so, he targeted those who enforced a strict, unbending allegiance to the Hebrew calendar.

Every good Jew knew the spiritual reasons behind the Sabbath day of rest. The Sabbath day deception in Genesis 3 had been well documented in the Torah. An ancient serpent deceived humanity. Adam and Eve were banned from eating the fruit from the tree of life. Remembering the Sabbath—to keep it holy—was an original commandment. In other words, Jesus went straight for satan’s jugular vein, on a routine Sabbath day, in ordinary time.

After healing a lame man, he dared to ask the man to pick up his mat and walk, thereby setting up all the necessary visuals, which would encourage outrage among the religious leaders. He opened the door for satan by violating satan’s comfort zone. He took a stab at satan’s system of temporal domination, which demanded strict adherence to the Hebrew calendar. His actions laid a foundation that triggered a scapegoat mechanism, which eventually led to his crucifixion.

Jesus knew that the scapegoat mechanism required the passage of time in order to function.

He understood the fact that a predictable pattern of human behavior would follow the violation. Like little marionettes, people’s emotions and thoughts would be manipulated. The strings, of the lesser spiritual government of temporal time, would be pulled. People would obey satan’s authoritative voice, as the shadow on the sundial kept track of the days, and months, of Jesus’ ministry. Escalation of discomfort would unfold in the following way:

Step #1: Time is used to Identify and Accuse the Victim.
Step #2: Time is used to Assemble the Accusers.
Step #3: Time is used to Restrain the Accusers.
Step #4: Time is used to Constrict the Victim.

The passage of time allowed the lesser spiritual government, that is alive and well in the human mind, to create feelings of hostility. Thus, the 24-hour clock acts as an enabler, in all kinds of deception, but none can be understood so clearly, as the clock’s participation in the process of scapegoating. As it ticks out measured minutes, the clock becomes an active accomplice in accelerating discomfort. Therefore, as time passes, the need for relief from annoyance, or irritation, becomes paramount within the human mind.

Simply put, we cannot validate the predictability of scapegoating behaviors, without also validating the role that the 24-hour clock plays in propelling the behaviors forward. Its timekeeping purpose escalates tension that must inevitably be brought to an end, albeit a false end.

In other words, humanity’s timekeeping devices create a spiritual government, which plays the human mind like a finely tuned fiddle. 

To understand how the scapegoating process plays out over time, continue reading, “My Hour” Part III.