Thursday of week 4 of Lent – Gospel


Commentary on John 5:31-47

Today we continue with yesterday’s words of Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus re-affirms that God himself is the witness – in four ways – to the truth of all that Jesus says:

  1. The testimony of John the Baptist, although that was only human testimony (vv.33-34).
  2. The works of Jesus give clear testimony of the divine origin of all that Jesus does. “The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” The leaders could not see this but the crowds often testified to it with enthusiasm. (v.36)
  3. The Father himself has given testimony, although that has not been seen directly by some of the Jews. “The Father who sent me has testified on my behalf but you have never heard his voice nor seen his form.” (Is this a reference to Jesus’ baptism or to the Transfiguration?) (vv.37-38);
  4. A careful reading of the scriptures will show they give testimony to Jesus. “You search the scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.” This is clearly shown later on by Jesus when explaining the scriptures to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. (vv.39-40).

Although Jesus clearly comes in the name of his Father, he is not accepted or believed in.

Yet some individual will come in his own name and they will accept him. Further they keep looking into their own traditions rather than looking further to someone who clearly comes from God.

Jesus will not accuse them before his Father. Moses, in whom they claim to believe, will be their accuser. “If you have believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you refuse to believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say?” By “Moses” is meant the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch and whose authorship is attributed to Moses, although we know now by the dating of the various parts that this could not be possible. It was common in ancient times to attribute the authorship of a work to a well-known personality.

How much of all this applies to us? Where do we ultimately put our faith? In the Christ of the New Testament or in a Jesus we have tailored to our own wants? How familiar are we with the Word of God in the New (and Old) Testament? Where do we clearly see the Risen Jesus bringing God into our lives every single day?

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