Psalm 131 • Jeremiah 26:1-16 • Romans 11:1-12 • John 10:19-42
The gospel reading for today from John concerns a confrontation in which some of the Jewish people accuse Jesus of blasphemy because of his claims about his relationship to God. They even threaten to stone him. As I thought about this passage, two different and somewhat conflicting reactions occurred to me.
On the one hand, we all know that throughout history there have been countless examples of frauds, charlatans or plainly delusional people who have tried to assert their religious authority over others. As they view this strange Galilean, perhaps the reaction of these Jews is not completely surprising. But on the other hand, it is typical human behavior to resist someone or something radically new based on established norms, vested interest or personal comfort levels. Again, but for different reasons, the extreme hostility to Jesus might be predictable.
Then, as I thought more about it, I realized that the response Jesus gives to his challengers not only resolves both of these typical reactions, it cuts through the entire discussion with absolute clarity.
Do not believe me, then, if I am not doing the things my Father wants me to do. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my works, in order that you may know once and for all that the Father is in me and that I am in the Father. (verses 37-38)
Following however imperfectly on the example that Jesus sets, is there anything we should seek more earnestly, or anything we should practice more diligently in this season of Lent, than to show through our works that the spirit of God is operating within us?