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Gospel Reflections » International

"I Have Come From Him Who Sent Me"

March 15, 2013

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We deal here with yet another controversy between Jesus and the Jewish establishment on the occasion of the Feast of the Tabernacles.

 

This harvest festival which took place in autumn was by far the most popular Jewish feast. It was celebrated with extensive water offerings and the illumination of the Temple court. Many Jews went up to Jerusalem for the festivities and, in this passage, Jesus’s family urges him to do so as a means of greater publicity. They really didn’t believe in him, but stood to gain from whatever fame he won, hence their advice.

 

Jesus however knows how intense the opposition to him is and decides to go to the feast in secret. All of Jerusalem is abuzz with guesses:  will Jesus come or not ? Is he really the Messiah? Is he a good man, or is he leading people astray? When Jesus does break his silence and begin teaching in public in the temple area, everyone is astonished at his learning.

 

Jesus addresses the confusion about his origins and, in John’s Gospel, this is presented with exquisite irony. The general feeling was that the Messiah would appear suddenly and captivate the masses, but everyone knew where Jesus came from, so he couldn’t be said to have appeared ‘suddenly.’ Again, many felt that the Messiah could never arise from Galilee, as they knew Jesus did.

 

Jesus says categorically, I have not come of my own accord, but I was sent by the one who truly is, but Him you do not know.What he means is, I have been sent by my Father who is God himself, and if you see and accept me, you see and accept my Father too.  But this was something the Jewish establishment was not prepared to accept. They absolutely refused to accept that Jesus was God’s son and that they ought to change their lives in obedience to his word.

 

Isn’t it like that with us too?  We see what God wants of us and that this means a change of life for us. But we resist this change, and find reasons to question whether this is really what God asks or not. We ask silly questions about the messenger and ignore the meaning of the message.     

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