John 7:1–2,10, 25–30
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret. Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.
In today’s gospel, we are told that Jesus was confining his activities to Galilee. He did not want to go to Judea and the vicinity of Jerusalem because there were people there who wanted to kill him. Jesus knew that people were talking about him. They were asking each other about who he was and what they had heard about him. I’d like to place today’s text in context since our reading from Chapter 7 is not continuous from verse 1 to verse 30, rather verses 3-9 and 11- 24 are not included as part of our pericope. Jesus has left Jerusalem for Galilee as the Jews sought to kill Him. From the text, it seems clear, that they were seeking ‘any’ opportunity to kill Him. We are told that the eight day long Jewish festival of the Booths was near. It is here that our saga of ‘knowing’ and ‘unknowing’ begins.
No matter how many times I read this passage, I am struck by Jesus’ words, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” I am again reminded of the importance of my relationship with Jesus. Knowing about something objectively and knowing it subjectively are two very different things. This applies to our knowing Jesus. To know Jesus and to know about him are two different things. Jesus wants us to know him and to be in relationship with him. That was the challenge for the people in our gospel as much as it is for us today.
Do we really know who Jesus is? Jesus is clear that he came not for himself but for God and for God’s people. Our faith, at its heart, is knowing God personally through Jesus Christ. Jesus came not just to tell us about God but to show us God. During these last weeks of Lent, may we look for new ways to know Jesus more deeply.
O God, you have given us the Good News of your abounding love in your Son Jesus Christ: So fill our hearts with thankfulness that we may rejoice to proclaim the good tidings we have received; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.