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27 March 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading: John 10.31-end

You may have heard the argument that to say the things Jesus said, he must have either been ‘mad, bad, or God.’

Mad? To claim to have a special relationship with the divine is often a sign of mental illness. But Jesus’ teaching is varied and nuanced, he adopts a range of teaching styles, and he attracts large crowds, as well as a loyal band of disciples, who hang on his every word. Would they have come to trust someone if he had been showing signs of psychosis or delusion? Whilst speaking of his Father in heaven, Jesus had his feet firmly on the ground; he was a person people turned to.  

Bad? To claim to have the power to forgive sins, and to have healing powers, and to have a special relationship with God – these are hardly the marks of a fraudster, especially since Jesus did not renounce or retract his teaching when it led to arrest, torture, and the death penalty. If his ministry had been in any way maliciously motivated, his followers would have deserted him at his death, rather than choosing to proclaim the Gospel in his name, at great cost to themselves, for the rest of their lives. 

God?   This is the conclusion his disciples reached then, and which we can know to be true now – in Jesus God was made visible. Jesus’ claim to a unique relationship with the Father is what angered the religious authorities most. And yet in today’s reading Jesus shows that even in their scriptures there is mention of human beings being gods with a small ‘g’. If all human beings carry a dignity born of their being made in the image of God, then why should not God send his Son into the World, and why should not Jesus be open about that special Sonship?

They try to arrest Jesus, but he slips from their hands. This happens more than once in the Gospels. He escapes their grasp. They just don’t get it.

And yet he comes to us, through the Holy Spirit, and shows us the way, even now. He offers forgiveness through his death on the cross, and through his resurrection, new life in the Holy Spirit! Alleluia!

Today’s Gospel Reading: John 10.31-end

The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus replied, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.’ Jesus answered, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, you are gods”? If those to whom the word of God came were called “gods”—and the scripture cannot be annulled— can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, “I am God’s Son”? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’ Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands.

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. Many came to him, and they were saying, ‘John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.’ And many believed in him there.