To understand the Gospel reading for today, you really have to go back and read the beginning of the chapter. Jesus heals a man who has been ill for 38 years. He says, “Stand up, take your mat and walk,” and so he does. When the Jews find out that Jesus was the one who had cured the man, they persecute him for doing such things on the day of the Sabbath. Jesus’ response is “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” Oh dear, now Jesus is not only breaking the Sabbath, he is calling God his Father, and making himself equal to God.
Who is going to believe that Jesus is God? (Isn’t anyone interested in the fact that he healed this man?) In the section for today, Jesus names those who can testify on his behalf: John the Baptist, the scriptures, God himself, and the works that God has given Jesus to do. Jesus accuses the Jews of searching scripture in order to find eternal life, when the truth is standing right in front of them. They fail to accept that Jesus really is the son of God.
What does this mean for us today? We are not so lucky as to have Jesus in person, to touch and feel and experience his magical works. But the witnesses that Jesus mentions in this text are still available to us today. We also have the witness of the Holy Spirit. Let us see the Truth. May we learn from these passages, and open our hearts to look for Jesus and for God in our lives.
Thursday, March 10, 2016