“The fearful danger of the present time is that above the cry for authority, we forget that man stands alone before the ultimate authority, and that anyone who lays violent hands on man here, is infringing eternal laws, and taking upon himself superhuman authority, which will eventually crush him.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer: 1906 – 1945: was a German Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident)
Gospel Text: (JN 10:31-42)
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The Jews answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered them,
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.
He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.
Jesus might be thinking what’s wrong with you people? “I have shown you many good works from my Father…and you are trying to stone me.” He escapes….this time.
Given the narrative between the Jewish people and Jesus today in the Gospel, we see people and a nation that were threatened by the GOOD. God is interrupting their lives and they responded with death to the messenger! What for? Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years in opposition to apartheid in South Africa said “Resentment (vengeance) is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.” No favorable outcome here!
Here we are in the Fifth Week of Lent. We are about to walk with Jesus to Jerusalem and to his death. Some questions to consider: Have I taken the time to look deeply at what drives my thoughts and actions? Have I considered the dark and sinful side of my life as well as our own national/global history of sin and grace? Who are the prophets of today that I want to follow? What motivates my following? What keeps me from following? Is it rooted in vengeance or love, loss or trust, individualism or relationship, community, and the greater GOOD? Some of this may rattle you a bit.
But wait… “In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.”