The Rev. Canon Rosemarie Logan Duncan
Today’s Gospel: John 5:30-47
For the past month, I have been serving on a grand jury. Every day our panel reviewed evidence and listened to the testimony of witnesses associated with each case presented. Often there were multiple credible witnesses who all relayed the same information independently of one another while there were other witnesses who provided crucial unique pieces of the larger puzzle. Much like a courtroom setting, in today’s gospel, Jesus is presenting testimony and witnesses in defense of his claim to be the Son of God.
Earlier in Chapter 5 of John’s gospel, Jesus had already angered the Jewish leaders with his seeming disregard for the Sabbath by healing a man who had been ill for 38 years. Jesus, acutely aware of their disapproval, responded to his critics that he had full authority for what he did because it was the work of God. So to address their disbelief in his identity, Jesus presents his witnesses. Jesus begins by testifying about himself. It is not that his testimony is not true, but that the religious leaders do not consider it to be true. He then calls upon John the Baptist who first bore witness to him. Then the miracles and healing acts of Jesus bore witness–God the Father validated His mission. Finally, the Scriptures, which the religious leaders professed to believe, bore witness to the truth of Jesus and to his mission. Jesus is the One foretold by the prophets. Jesus was standing there in real life, doing work that was only possible with God’s help and inviting them into a new relationship. But with all of this, those around Jesus did not accept or believe in him. What proof do we require to believe in the Son of God? Today might just be the day to realize that right here, right now, Jesus is ready to make a difference in our lives. The evidence is in and all that is needed is our decision.
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious
to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them
again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and
hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ
your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)