Catholic Men’s Lenten Gospel Pilgrimage – 4th Week of Lent – Thursday – John 5:31-47
Christ entered Jerusalem for a Jewish feast (likely the Feast of Pentecost/Weeks) and was confronted by the Jews because He healed an invalid on the Sabbath and because He claimed to be the Son of God. Anticipating the Jews’ desire to put Him on trial, Christ now uses the Jewish legal tradition to establish witnesses (Deut 19:15) for His defense.
Going beyond the minimum of two witnesses required to sustain a claim in Jewish court, Christ provides a list of five witnesses to provide testimony. John the Baptist is a powerful witness to Christ, described as a “burning and shining lamp” just like Elijah (Sir 48:1); incredibly, Christ does not accept testimony from human beings, mysteriously confirming His “other-worldliness.” Christ points to His miraculous works as a witness in His defense. Even more stunning, Christ points to God the Father as His witness. Using the Jews’ passion for Scripture, Christ argues that even the Scriptures witness to Him. Finally, Christ confirms that Moses provides written testimony for Him (Gen 49:10; Deut 18::15-19).
Christ condemns the Jews’ lack of belief. Christ confirms that the Jews that accuse them, despite their supposed piety, have never heard or seen the Father and that this is the cause of their rejection of Christ. He condemns the Jews for their futile intellectual efforts of “searching the Scriptures.” Christ decries the Jews for not having “the love of God within you” and condemns their prideful desire to seek personal glory and status. Christ laments their self-contradictory ignorance in which they claim to exalt Moses but refuse to listen to him.
1) Be awed that God’s plan for the salvation of men is very purposeful; Moses prophetically anticipates Christ, Scripture across thousands of years describe Him, John the Baptist announces Him, Christ preaches, miraculously heals and actively seeks to convert even His enemies.
2) Christ laments the ignorance of the Jews who “do not have love in ….in their hearts.” During Lent, renew your commitment to Charity (CCC 1822-1829) and pray for Christ to send the Holy Spirit to help you love God and your neighbors more fully.
3) Christ points to His works as witness to His identity. During Lent, reflect upon your Identity in Christ (CCC 782, 1025, 1272-1274, 1279) in Baptism and pray for Christ to help you confirm your identity as a Catholic by continually living out the Catholic faith to the fullest.