First Lesson: Judges 18:1-15
Second Lesson: Acts 8:1-13
Third Lesson: John 5:30-47
John 5:36-42 “the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.”
In Jesus, God is bringing his transforming love, grace, and Kingdom of Light to earth in a dramatic and wonderful way. Jesus heals a man who had been crippled, unable to walk for 38 years. How wonderful to see God at work! What an amazing demonstration of God’s love! You would expect a great celebration.
But not so! The religious leaders are angry that this happened on the Sabbath and they persecute Jesus and go after him in self-righteous debate. They do not understand or see what God is doing. And here, in John’s Gospel, Jesus is very honest with them. Though they study the scriptures, though they have extensive recall of the information in the Bible; they really do not understand. They are missing what God is doing. They can’t see who Jesus really is because of their preconceptions, self-righteousness, and certainty of how the life of faith should be lived. Jesus tells them that God’s word does not live in them and they do not have the love of God within their hearts. Wow!
We might reflect about those times when we do not see what God is doing in the world or in the church, or hopes to do in us. Is it possible, on occasion, that God is at work and we refuse to see it? Are there times when God wants to do a new thing but we refuse to listen, to learn, and to launch out in faith? Do we ever read the scriptures in the wrong way? Could there be some self-righteousness in us, in me?
It’s something to think about from time to time.