Faith Daily | 18 March 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Lent Four
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature
by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen APBA p488
GOSPEL for the Day: John 5: 31-47
31 ‘If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. 33You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. 34Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. 37And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, 38and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.
39 ‘You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. 40Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41I do not accept glory from human beings. 42But I know that you do not have the love of God in* you. 43I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? 45Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Peter Brady
In this reading Jesus is presenting his credentials to the religious authorities. In the Jewish legal system, one could not testify on their behalf so Jesus calls as his witnesses John the Baptist, then the Father and finally scripture itself. He then turns the tables on his accusers, highlighting their hypocrisy in claiming their zeal and love of God when really they were motivated by pride and the desire to be seen as righteous.
The challenge the Pharisees and Sadducees failed all those years ago still faces us. We must accept God and His Son on their own terms and not try to impose our own ideas or concepts of what they should be or do. God's time is not our time and God's plan is not our plan. But God's plan for us is good, we just need to accept that the good will not come when we think it should. And in the meantime, we must avoid the other trap that Ancient Israel fell into - seeking honour from other people rather than seeking the honour that only God, through Christ can give - redemption as His children.
Father, we have forgotten what You have told us. We have put money, ourselves and other humans ahead of You in our lives. We go through the rituals and habits of acknowledging You without real thought or feeling, we break Your commandments in thought word and action. Help us to become Your obedient followers. Give us the courage to forego self and the strength to put Your kingdom ahead of this world.
We ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus.