Faith Daily | 9 April 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 490
We thank you, heavenly Father,
that you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
we pray that
as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us
to joys eternal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: John 11: 45-57
31 The Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus replied, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?’ 33The 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.’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Is it not written in your law,* “I said, you are gods”? 35If those to whom the word of God came were called “gods”—and the scripture cannot be annulled— 36can 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”? 37If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. 38But 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.’ 39Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands.
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. 41Many came to him, and they were saying, ‘John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.’ 42And many believed in him there.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Rachel McFadyen
These events take place just before Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, which we celebrate tomorrow on Palm Sunday.
The tension is obvious; the miracle of Lazarus took place in Bethany, only a few miles from Jerusalem, while most of his earlier miracles were in Galilee far to the north. People now believe he is the Messiah from God, and the religious authorities can no longer ignore him. Caiaphas in particular sees very clearly that Jesus is a threat to the delicate political balance between the occupying Romans, Herod as a puppet ruler, and the Sanhedrin and Chief Priest who lead the religious establishment. Caiaphas is a politician above all; he is not troubled by questions regarding God. And the Sanhedrin go along with him, and start plotting ways to put Jesus to death.
Caiaphas’ words “it is expedient for one man to die to save the many” are key, constantly quoted over the centuries. John interprets them as prophetic; Jesus’ death did indeed bring salvation to many, in fact to all who believe in his resurrection. But the question of whether the end justifies the means remains just as live today as it was then. Many people think millions of lives would have been saved if Hitler had been assassinated before war broke out, and many attempts were made but failed. Now people talk about assassinating Putin, and it is likely that his death would also save many lives, as in the resulting chaos the Russian government might well abandon his policy of invasion and armed occupation of the Ukraine. But are political assassinations ever justified? Was Caiaphas in fact correct in his political assessment even if not his assessment of Jesus and of God? And how can we discern the will of God in the chaos of the world around us?
FINAL PRAYER: Prayer with the words from Psalm 31 (reading for Palm Sunday)
Be for us a rock of refuge, O God, a fortress to defend us:
for you are our high rock and our stronghold.
In you Lord, have we put our trust:
we have said “you are our God, and all our days are in your hand.”
Be strong, and let our hearts take courage:
all we who hope in the Lord.