Easter 4 :: Various -ologies

“I have told you, and you do not believe.”

Right 3

Flower Window

I am not an alethiologist. [I don’t even know if that is a word!] Nor do I claim to be an epistemologist. [Now, that is a word!]. I can, however, claim to be an amateur theologian, as can anyone who engages in God-talk. [Yes, I’m thinking of you] But it seems clear to me that Jesus, in confronting the Jewish authorities of his day, is claiming to be all three. No small feat for a small-town itinerant rabbi.

Actually it is the authorities who are doing the confronting. They are trying to trick Jesus into saying he is Messiah, thus putting himself in hot water with the Roman political establishment. Throughout John’s gospel [and the others too, for that matter], we are told that the religious authorities tried to trap Jesus in his God-talk. By answering their queries with, “I’ve already told you, but you do not believe,” Jesus is refusing to take their bait. This kind of response had the effect of infuriating his interrogators, causing them to want to get rid of him once and for all. In the very next verse after this scene from John’s Gospel, they actually begin to take up stones to kill him.

Of course the authorities are wrong. In John’s Gospel Jesus never says to the authorities he is Messiah. But he does imply it in pretty much everything he says and does.

It is up to us now, as it was for his followers then, to know and believe—and to talk about—Jesus as Messiah, the One who has come into the world bringing new life!

Thanks be to God!

RCL Lectionary for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C

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