Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
(Genesis 17:5-9; John 8:51-59)
In the Gospel of John Jesus is not tried before the Sanhedrin. Unlike the three other gospels, after being arrested Jesus is given only a brief interrogation by the former high priest Annas. He is then brought to the house of Caiaphas before being delivered to Pilate. But this is not to say that Jesus is not tried by the Jews in the Gospel of John. Indeed, he is asked the same kind of questions in passages like today’s gospel that Matthew, Mark, and Luke have him face in the Sanhedrin trial. John has typically reworked the sayings about Jesus that were handed down in the apostles’ preaching.
“Who do you make yourself to be?” the Jews ask Jesus. In the Gospel of Mark the high priest asks Jesus a similarly pointed question, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?” In both cases Jesus answers with the same, “I am,” echoing God’s name for Himself in Exodus. It is a moment of truth, and Jesus, as he says in the passage, cannot deny that he is God’s Son.
It is time for us also to give testimony. Jesus touches our lives every day. We may not be able to say that we have seen him, but we pray to him. Invariably, it seems, he saves us from failure and distress. We can truly say that he is the Son of God.