Thursday, March 17, 2016
Reflection: John 8:51-59
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent - John 8:51-59
Jesus was dialoguing with the Jews. Jesus told them that if they truly keep his word, they will never see death. Imagine how astounded everyone must have been at Jesus’ words. Never see death? What was Jesus thinking? Everyone on earth understood that at some point in the future they would die. This was the natural course of life!
Naturally, the Jews thought Jesus was crazy. Did he truly believe that he would not die? Did he actually think that he was greater than Abraham or the prophets? All of the prophets, great though they were, died. Why did Jesus think he was different? Did Jesus believe that he was greater than the prophets?
When Jesus responded to the Jews, he did not respond to their criticism of him. Rather Jesus talked about his Father. He told them that His Father was the one who would glorify him. Jesus also said that even though the Jews thought they knew God, they actually did not know God. Jesus, however, had a deep relationship with God. Then, in the Jews’ estimation, Jesus went too far. He told the Jews that his father Abraham had rejoiced to see his day. His listeners were astounded and disbelieving. Jesus truly was crazy!
The Jews responded by telling Jesus that he wasn’t even fifty years old. How could he possibly have seen Abraham? Jesus responded to them: “Before Abraham came to be, I AM.” After the seemingly blasphemous statement, the Jews began to gather stones to throw at Jesus, but Jesus simply and quietly walked out of the temple.
Put yourself in the Jews’ shoes. If anyone said to you what Jesus said to the Jews, would you believe them or would you think they were delusional and perhaps had gone off their rocker? Most likely, we would think they were crazy or fanatical. After all, to the Jews, Jesus was just another itinerant preacher. Why should they think that Jesus was above the norm of preachers? After all, he sounded pretty crazy when he said that he existed before Abraham. Talk about rubbish! That was impossible!
Clearly, the Jews’ hearts were closed to Jesus. True, they didn’t believe him, but they were also frightened of the power and influence he had with many of the people. Jesus was greatly loved and admired. Jesus was undermining the Jews’ credibility with the people. Jesus was becoming a significant threat to the power and influence of the Jewish officials!
Today might be a good day for us to examine our hearts. Do we have places in our hearts and minds that we have closed to Jesus? We may have closed minds or hearts to Jesus because in some way life is painful and a struggle and we blame Jesus for this reality.
What do we believe about Jesus? Have we distanced ourselves from him? Or do we continue to believe and trust Jesus? Do we take him for granted? Today I invite you to stop and reflect on who Jesus is to you at this time in your life. Are you satisfied with the relationship you have with Jesus? If not, how would you like it to change? Then, will you take some steps to reestablish a close relationship with Jesus? Jesus is right beside you, waiting for you.