Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
(Exodus 32:7-14; John 5:31-47)
In John’s gospel after Jesus is arrested, he is not taken before the Sanhedrin for a trial. There is a brief questioning by a former high priest, but no witnesses are called. There is no “Jewish trial” in John’s gospel. Instead there are a series of interrogations of Jesus and testimonies for and against him throughout the work. In today’s gospel passage Jesus presents evidence in his defense.
Jesus first cites John the Baptist. He says that John testified to the truth that is incarnate in Jesus. Then Jesus brings up the mighty works of healing that he has done. He also says the Father has given testimony on his behalf. John does not have the Father speaking of Jesus from a cloud. He may have in mind God’s mercy demonstrated in today’s first reading. Jesus everywhere exhibits God’s mercy that refuses to destroy a rebellious people. Finally, Scripture testifies to Jesus by prophesying of the coming Messiah.
The Jews will not accept Jesus’ witnesses. But we do. No one has ever spoken or lived quite like Jesus. He not only lived an implicitly pure life, but he also died testifying to the Father’s love for the world. As his disciples will say later in the gospel, we have nowhere to turn but to Jesus.