Wednesday

1 July 2020

John 5:19-29

The Father judges no one but has given all judgement to the Son, so that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Anyone who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. (vs. 22–23)

Psalm: Psalm 26

Background

I remember a teacher of mine, in utter frustration, almost shouting at the class I was in, "The only way I’ll get you lot to understand is to write it on six inch nails [this was pre-metric but you’ll get the drift] and hammer them into your heads." He didn’t mean it literally. He had just got to the point of wondering how on earth he could get through to us.

I think Jesus must have felt like that sometimes.

Jesus was a supreme teacher, used parable and metaphor, logic and reason, theology and humanity. And, as John tries to make clear the importance of Jesus’ message he writes words which don’t, on the face of it, seem to make sense, "The Father judges no one but has given all judgement to the Son." If these words are true, what Jesus says and does as a human being, and that is critical, is of immense, we might say eternal, significance.

The humanity of Jesus is important because his judgment is not, as someone once said so holy it is of no earthly good. "The Word became flesh" So Jesus not only judges, but shows how to judge. He points out what is most significant if we are to follow his example, love our neighbour, do God’s will.

Teaching day after day, Jesus arguably reached the peak of frustration when he went to the Temple scattering the tables of money changers. He could have simply said, "God’s grace is free." More was needed. Love is acted out practically in our ordinary human transactions. Jesus' judgment at this point is not a ‘one day in heaven’, not a ‘when you come to the pearly gates’ judgment, it is a literal overturning of part of the basic economy of the Temple. It is a here and now, everyday judgement. Interesting that Jesus had far more to say, to judge if you like, about our use of money than he ever did about human sexuality. Interesting that, more often than not, the church has reversed that emphasis. And, if we’re to believe John, everything Jesus said or did embodied what God would do if he had been human … and the Word had become flesh!

 

To Ponder:

  •  How can you judge others in a way which mirrors Jesus’ way of judging?
  • How can you offer ways of justice that are kind?

Bible notes author

The Revd Andrew Pratt

Andrew is a Methodist supernumerary presbyter, Honorary Research Fellow at Luther King House, Manchester, and author. He has written over 1,500 hymns.

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