Gospel Reading: John 10:31-42
31 The Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?" 33 The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." 34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, `I said, you are gods'? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, `You are blaspheming,' because I said, `I am the Son of God'? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." 39 Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. 40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him; and they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true." 42 And many believed in him there.
Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13
10 For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! "Denounce him! Let us denounce him!" say all my familiar friends, watching for my fall. "Perhaps he will be deceived, then we can overcome him, and take our revenge on him." 11 But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. 12 O LORD of hosts, who test the righteous, who see the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause. 13 Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.
Meditation: Why were the religious leaders so upset with Jesus that they wanted to kill him? They charged him with blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God and he made himself equal with God. The law of Moses laid down the death penalty for such a crime: "He who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him" (Leviticus 24:16). As they were picking up stones to hurl at Jesus, he met their attack with three arguments. The many good works that he did, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry, demonstrated that his power and marvelous deeds obviously came from God.
Jesus then defended his right to call himself the Son of God with a quote from Psalm 82:6 ("I say, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you"). Jesus argued that if Scripture can speak like that of humans, why should he not speak of himself like that? Jesus then made two claims: He was consecrated by the Father for a special task and he was sent into the world to carry out his Father's mission (John 10:36). The scriptural understanding of consecration is to make holy for God - to be given over as a free-will offering and sacrifice for God.
Jesus made himself a sin-offering for us, to ransom us from condemnation and slavery to sin. He spoke of his Father consecrating him for this mission of salvation (John 10:36). Jesus challenged his opponents to accept his works if they could not accept his words. One can argue with words, but deeds are beyond argument. Jesus is the perfect teacher in that he does not base his claims on what he says but on what he does. The word of God is life and power to those who believe. Jesus shows us the way to walk the path of truth and holiness. And he anoints us with his power to live the gospel with joy and to be his witnesses in the world. Are you a doer of God's word, or a forgetful hearer only?
"Write upon my heart, O Lord, the lessons of your holy word, and grant that I may be a doer of your word, and not a forgetful hearer only."
2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress,
and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my
shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death encompassed me, the torrents of perdition assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me, the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
A Daily Quote for Lent: The sacrifice of Christ, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Even though the man Christ Jesus, in the form of God together
with the Father with whom He is one God, accepts our sacrifice,
nonetheless He has chosen in the form of a servant to be the
sacrifice rather than to accept it. Therefore, He is the priest
Himself Who presents the offering, and He Himself is what is
offered." (excerpt from City of God, 10,20)
from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible,
copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of
Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches
of Christ in the United States of America. Used by
permission. All rights reserved. Citation references
for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can
be found here.
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