One of life’s more disappointing moments is when we bite into something that looks scrumptious only to discover that the taste doesn’t match the presentation. Often, our disappointment may be based on prior experience and less on the merit of whatever we’re biting into.
I feel that way about thornless blackberries. The shiny black fruit that looks like the blackberries I carefully picked while trying to avoid pricks from thorns was sweet. The blackberries Cyndi and I picked the other day were tart and noticeably void of sweetness. They looked ripe and brought back joyful memories, but the taste didn’t match the presentation.
In an article for the Hindustan Times, journalism student Tania Bagwan shared her research into the expression “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Pile-up tart blackberries on top of your culinary creation without sweetener and the eating may not be so pleasant.
In her article, Tania points out that the phrase “the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” isn’t necessarily about pudding or eating. Instead, she writes “it says that the real worth or success of something cannot be determined unless it has been tried and tested, all appearances and promises aside.”
I’m more accustomed to the shortened version of the phrase — “the proof is in the pudding.” And according to the dictionary.com “The proof is in the pudding is an expression that means the value, quality, or truth of something must be judged based on direct experience with it—or on its results.”
In our companion book for this series, one of Angela Hunt’s fictional characters is Shimon, who is married to a sister of Jesus named Damaris. In this week’s chapters, we read about a ritual that confirms Shimon as a member of an elite religious order known as the Pharisees.
This group believes God sets their members a part to teach and hold others accountable for living according to the laws of Moses and certain interpretations. They dressed differently and supposedly held themselves to the highest standards of compliance with their beliefs.
Angela Hunt describes a scene that occurs during the ritual that encapsulates our catch phrase:
Then, with the innocence of a child, Shiri spoke in a voice loud and high enough to echo through the building: “Why is Uncle Shimon acting like he doesn’t know us?” She might have turned to say something, but James did not give her a chance. He stood, turned to Shiri, and said, “Because he no longer considers himself one of us, little niece. We are the am ha’aretz, the common and ignorant, while he fancies himself one of Adonai’s elite.”
What does it mean to be one of God’s elite?
Meanwhile, rumors and reactions to Jesus were becoming more frequent. Particularly, regarding the possibility that He was the promised Messiah.
The deeds I do by my Father’s authority speak on my behalf.
In one exchange, Jesus is asked point-blank if He is the Messiah. Although the expression didn’t exist yet, Jesus responds with His version of “The proof if in the pudding” when He answers, “The deeds I do by my Father’s authority speak on my behalf.”
The crowd turned from inquisitive to violent as they focused on what Jesus said while ignoring His actions. After all, the experts, the Pharisees, publicly condemned the notion that Jesus was the Messiah. I suspect they believed the Messiah would come from their group. Either way, wouldn’t they be the first to know, given their inside track as one of God’s elite?
Jesus appeals to the crowd’s anger with logic. “Even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my deeds, in order that you may know once and for all that God is in me and that I am in God.”
There are many who believe that Jesus illustrated, through His actions, what it means to live a moral and righteous life. Yet they stop short of accepting that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah who is God living among us.
In this week’s text, Jesus is offering grace to any among us who have doubts He is also God. If this is where you are, you’re blessed that you tasted the pudding and discovered the truth that the proof is in the eating.
God’s grace is sufficient for us all. And it can take a lifetime to accept that Jesus is your Savior, too. But you don’t have to wait. The joy of knowing Jesus is your’s for the asking. So ask today and start living the life and plans that God has for you.
You can join us each Sunday in person or online by clicking the button on our website’s homepage – Click here to watch. This button takes you to our YouTube channel. You can find more information about us on our website at FlintAsburyChurch.org.
A reminder that we publish this newsletter that we call the Circuit Rider each week. You can request this publication by email. Send a request to connect@FlintAsbury.org or let us know when you send a message through our website. We post an archive of past editions on our website under the tab, Connect – choose Newsletters.
Our series was inspired by and relies on content provided by Angela Hunt. The Shepherd’s Wife. Jerusalem Road Series. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2020.
Tania Bagwan. “Where does the phrase “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” originate from?.” © Hindustan Times, Mar 14, 2022. Retrieved from: link