Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daily - 3/25/09

John 5:31-47 (Thursday's gospel)

31 "If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony cannot be verified.

32 But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.

33 You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.

34 I do not accept testimony from a human being, but I say this so that you may be saved.

35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.

36 But I have testimony greater than John's. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.

37 Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,

38 and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.

39 You search the scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf.

40 But you do not want to come to me to have life.

41 "I do not accept human praise;

42 moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.

43 I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.

44 How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?

45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope.

46 For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me.

47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

There's a lot to chew on in this reading and I can't really give it justice in this message. We spent a full hour discussing this one when got to it in the Friday morning bible study last September. I'll just focus on one element.

Christ didn't just perform miracles to "wow" people. In his gospel, St. John refers to Christ's miracles as signs -- demonstrations of His divinity. In fact, the first 12 chapters of John have historically been known as the "Book of Signs". They are meant to demonstrate the glory of God, so that the person seeing them might believe in Christ's divinity, repent, and obey his teachings (i.e., "go and sin no more"). Here are a few examples:

· John 2:11 (after turning water into wine in Cana): Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

· John 4:14 (after feeding five thousand): When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, "This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world."

· John 9:1-3: As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.

· John 10:4 (as Lazarus is dying): When Jesus heard this he said, "This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."

The whole purpose of Christ's signs was to reveal his glory. Christ's frustration with the Jewish leaders at the time was that everything they learned, taught, and supposedly lived was focusing on His coming, but they could not recognize Him for what He was: the Messiah, the Son of God, the Suffering Servant, the Paschal Lamb, Emmanuel.