What Do You Say?

– Friday Week 5 of Lent –

‘Jesus went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptising earlier, and he remained there. Many came to him, and they were saying, “John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.’   [John 10:40–42]

This gospel passage marks the end of Jesus’ public ministry in John’s gospel. Rejection of Jesus has been increasing since chapter five, when he healed the man by the pool of Bethsaida on the Sabbath. They wanted to kill him then. There he not only broke the Sabbath; he also claimed, as he does here, to be the Son of God and, therefore, God’s equal.

Some who witnessed Jesus’ miracles and listened to his teaching believed they were encountering the living fulfilment of the law, while others were motivated to kill him. Two groups saw the same evidence but went in entirely opposite directions. To believe in who Jesus really is, more than a first-person witnessing of the evidence of the miracles he worked is needed. It also requires a heart that has been opened by the Holy Spirit to the living truth of God in Christ.

It would seem that everything in the Christian faith depends upon the correct answer to the question posed by Jesus in Matthew 16:15 “Who do you say that I am?” In this text, there is more repetition of the reason Jesus gives for belief in him. The evangelist is keen to hammer home the identity of Jesus from every angle. Jesus is either who he claims to be, or there is no basis for Christianity.

“When we have a heart of stone, it happens that we pick up real stones and stone Jesus Christ in the person of our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest of them” (Pope Francis, Mass for the Feast of St Martha, March 23, 2013).


by Janiene Wilson

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