Who Are You? – Br. James Koester

John 10: 31 – 42

Something significant, but not surprising, happens in the gospel today. Jesus has just told the crowds, that the Father and I are one.[1] The consequence of such a statement is outrage, and as we hear today, they took up stones again to stone him.[2] It is clearly not the first time Jesus has provoked such as response. The difference in this case, is that attitudes are hardening; divisions are more pronounced; and once again the threat of arrest is all too real, but he escaped from their hands.[3]

In many ways none of this should surprise us. From the very beginning, in a sense from the moment the Baptist testified that [Jesus] is the Son of God,[4] the division between those who believed, and those who did not, was bound to occur. What is new today, is that those divisions are becoming irreconcilable.

It is a question that lingers in the air, even today. Who are you?[5] is not a question asked only by those who encountered Jesus in the flesh, long ago. It is a question people ask today. It is a question which even we must ask. It is especially a question we must ask, as we stand on the threshold of Holy Week. Who are you? The answer, our answer, will determine what we see in the days ahead.

If our answer, which is the answer of some, indeed the answer of many, is only a human being,[6] then that is all we will see. If our answer, which is the answer of some, indeed the answer of many, is a blasphemer,[7] then that too is all we will see. If only human, or a blasphemer, then clearly, he is a troublemaker, and surely one who deserves, perhaps not to die, but at least to be gotten rid of, to be put away, to be locked up, as a scoundrel, a cheat, a lunatic.

But if we see in him who he says he is, I am God’s Son, and the Father is in me and I am in the Father,[8] then what we see in the coming days, will be something quite different: innocent victim, Son of God, the giver of a future with hope,[9]as we heard this morning at Morning Prayer.[10]

No one can make this choice for us. It is ours alone to make, and make it we must, time and time again. What we see on Easter Day, grave robbed tomb, or resurrected Lord, depends on what, and who we see today.

The choice is ours, but answer the question we must: who are you? Whatever our answer, will shape who and what we see in the week to come. Indeed, the answer will shape our lives, not just for next week, but for all eternity.

Lectionary Year and Proper: Year 1, Friday in the Week of Lent V

[1] John 10: 30

[2] John 10: 31

[3] John 10: 39

[4] John 1: 34

[5] John 8: 25

[6] John 10: 33

[7] John 10: 33

[8] John 10: 36, 38

[9] Jeremiah 29: 11

[10] The first lesson appointed for Morning Prayer for Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent, Year 1, is Jeremiah 29: 1, 4 – 13

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