John 10:31-42New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
31The 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,[a] I said, you are gods? 35If those to whom the word of God came were called godsand 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 Gods 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[b]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.
40He 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.
What is it with these people and their rocks? Sheesh.
But then I realize how my first reaction to some circumstance that isn’t going exactly the way I want usually involves anger. How many times have we told our friends (or kids), “It’s not that you did what you did, it’s your attitude when you did it that’s all wrong”?
“Jesus, it’s not your miracles, it’s your attitude,” these people seem to be saying.
I love how Jesus responds in this controversial and confusing portion of scripture. It’s almost like He’s playing dumb or acting naive on purpose. We can almost see the mock expression of surprise on His face: “What? Who me? Well your written law declares you are gods, the exact same thing you are saying I am. Why is it not ok for me to claim to be God’s son when your scriptures claim you are gods?”
In other words, “Where are your miracles?” we might picture Jesus saying.
This is a hugely important passage for us to truly see how Jesus lives out the life with His Father that we were meant to live – but can’t apart from Him.
When we look at others and their shortcomings, often anger can arise because it reminds us of our own shortcomings.
And like these rock-clutching people, when we look at Jesus and see the miracle-laden life we were meant to live represented by His life, often anger can arise because it reminds us we simply can’t live this life without surrender. We can’t live this life without dropping our rocks.
When we drop the rock that keep Jesus at a distance, we find His gentle hand taking its place.
Think of some recent circumstances that haven’t gone your way this Lenten season.
Did anger arise?
As you reflect on one of these times, how much of your anger is directed at realizing how incapable you were to change the situation?
As you pray through this, do you note something in another person that, if you were honest, you really dislike about yourself?
If you imagine Jesus active in this situation, is there something in this passage of scripture that captures your attention that may have been His response or posture toward you?