Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
(Isaiah 49:8-15; John 5:17-30)
In the first three gospels when Jesus is tried by the Jews, he is accused of calling himself the “son of God.” In the long discourse from John’s gospel today, Jesus defends that position. Differences between the so-called synoptic gospels and John are apparent to all readers, but quite typically careful readers will find that they give basically the same message.
Jesus defends his relationship of being God’s son in two ways. First, he claims to do the work of the Father which is to give life. We might keep in mind that sons through the ages -- and certainly in first century Palestine -- often took upon themselves the occupation of their fathers. If their father was a carpenter, they would likely become carpenters. Thus, being thought the son of Joseph, Jesus is alternately called the carpenter’s son and a carpenter. In yesterday’s gospel Jesus did the work of God, his true father, by healing – a form of giving life which is God’s prerogative. Second, Jesus does the work of God by judging, that is by vindicating the good. He vindicates the good by giving life to those who believe in him.
Today’s gospel is prepping us to celebrate the Easter mysteries. Then we will be challenged to believe the proclamation of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection from the dead. Expressing faith by assenting to this proclamation and living accordingly, we will receive the eternal life they promise.