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 Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and the Gospel of John are apparent to all readers. Typically, however, careful readers find that they relate the same message.
Jesus defends his relationship to God, his Father in two ways. First, he claims to do the work of the Father which is to give life. Sons throughout the ages -- and certainly in first century Palestine – have taken upon themselves the occupation of their fathers. If their father is a fisherman, they likely fish for a living. Thus, being thought the son of Joseph, Jesus is alternately called the carpenter’s son in Matthew and a carpenter in Mark. In yesterday’s gospel passage Jesus does the work of God, his true Father, by healing – a form of giving life which is God’s prerogative. Second, Jesus defends his being God’s son by judging, that is, by vindicating the just. He does this when he gives eternal 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’ resurrection from the dead. Expressing our faith by assenting to this proclamation and living accordingly, we will receive the eternal life Jesus promises.