27TH APRIL 2021
THE WORKS THAT I DO IN MY FATHER'S NAME BEAR WITNESS TO ME. ACTS 11:19-26 PSALM 87:1-7 JOHN 10:22-30 Today's Gospel passage focuses on the identity of Jesus and his relationship with the Father and how we respond to Jesus. Although the Gospel of John itself emphatically declares the identity of Jesus from the opening verse ( John 1:1), his identity and the source of his ministry remain a puzzle for many throughout the rest of the Gospel. For example, in Samaria, the woman at the well proclaims him " prophet " and " Messiah "( John 4:19,29), while the rest of the city follows with " Saviour of the world "( John 4:42). At the feeding of the 5000, the crowd understands him as the " prophet" and wants to declare him " King" (John 6:14-15). After these initial descriptions, the question of his identity becomes more hotly contested when the authorities directly ask him who he is and who he claims to be. Those days, folks who taught or prophesied were often asked to give proof of their deeds and the power behind their gift but the questions in this passage go beyond that. Here, they are not only questioning his identity but they are mostly questioning if his power is verifiably fromGod. In our own time too, the debate over the identity of Jesus continues. In our passage today, the opponents of Jesus say to him, " If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly. "Jesus' response to them has two components. First, " I have told you and you do not believe ". We see here that no matter how clearly Jesus has spoken, he has been unable to persuade them. Second, Jesus simply maintains, " The works that I do in my father's name testify to me. " Jesus' point of argument is that if people will not believe his word, then they should get all they need to know about him from his works (John 5:36-38,10:37-38,14:9-11). Jesus' argument means that our preaching which mostly is done through our words is not enough to persuade skeptics of the truth of the Gospel. Even Jesus did not place maximum confidence in his words but depended more on the persuasive power of his works. If we cannot entirely rely on our preaching to persuade others, what can we say about having a prescribed religious experience, believing a doctrine, reaching a higher level of knowledge, or a higher level of morality? Are they persuasive enough?
As crucial as preaching and worship are, even more, crucial is the totality of our mission which should involve preaching and works that commensurable with it. Matthew 5:23-24 gives credence to this point saying that you should leave your gift at the altar so as to be able to go and make peace with someone you are at loggerheads with then go back to the temple to offer your sacrifice.
Today's Gospel passage gives us the opportunity to make holy what we do and do them by aligning them to God's will, in fact, we learn that we can preach deeply through our good deeds that will show that our words and worship are true and come from God. Only someone who does not want to believe in goodness will always deny and reject goodness.