Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

20 March 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading:  John 7.1-2, v10, and 25-30

They didn’t know what to do about Jesus. There hadn’t been anyone like Him before. Anyone else who had been a threat to the establishment, they dealt with in the usual way. But in Jesus’ case it took some time for the authorities to grasp the nettle. Their problem was, Jesus simply did not fit in to the usual categories. The result is that, much to everyone’s surprise, he continues to speak openly in Jerusalem despite the fact that already it is common knowledge that the powers that be are trying to get him killed. Jesus was an enigma to them – as he is to many today. What are we to make of Him?

It is interesting to read that their expectation was that the Messiah would come as it were out of the blue, from nowhere – so the fact that they know where Jesus comes from seems to rule him out. Normally, if you want to find out about anyone, find out where they come from. As for me, I am from Uganda, and that is a significant part of who I am – though it does not tell you everything about me. Where did Jesus come from? Galilee? Bethlehem? Nazareth? – none of these answers offered an explanation for his personality, his character, or his authority.

Jesus, overhearing the conversation, announces in the hearing of everyone in the temple, that he has not come on his own, or on his own account, but that he has been sent. His origin is not a place that can be found on a map. He comes from ‘the one who sent me’. Though in veiled terms the meaning is clear – he claims to come from God. This provokes an attempt to arrest him, which somehow fails, ‘because his hour had not yet come.’

If, like me, you would like to know Jesus more, why not ask Him? Make a list of what you know of him already – and another of what you would like to know. 

Today’s Gospel Reading:  John 7.1-2, v10, and 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.