Scripture: Lectionary # 250. Jeremiah 11:18-20. Psalm 7:2-3.9-10.11-12.
John 7:40-53

Readings for Saturday

Just as we have many images of Jesus in our personal attachment to him and
our devotion, so, too, during the time of the writing of John's Gospel we
have insights from the author into how different persons and groups saw
Jesus or had opinions about who he is. Let us say, they were divided in
this dimension of imaging Jesus or knowing about him. We are given better
insights into these deep feelings in the Fourth Gospel than in the
Synoptics. John not only is a master theologian, he also is a great
narrator and tells us more about the landscape of Judah and Jerusalem than
the other evangelists. The Pharisees, the temple guards, Pilate, and the
crowds are clearly depicted in his narrative passages. We have evidence of
this in today's Gospel which is not a discourse of Jesus but a third person
narrative. The writer knows what he has described in symbolism but he also
recalls where he has mentioned people and places earlier and then brings
them back whenever he is speaking of a later period in Jesus' life. We have
at least two stages being narrated--the first coming from the actual
circumstances that surround Jesus in his time and then the self-evident
description of what is happening during the time of the writer in the
separation of the nascent Christian churches from the mother Synagogues
from which they came. Tension and division are presented.

Nicodemus is one who appears again and this time it is during the day. He
asks the leaders to be reasonable about this person Jesus and to give him a
fair trial. He has made some progress in his imaging of Jesus. We will see
him once more in this Gospel after the crucifxion. So John does give us
historical information that is being confirmed by archaeolgists, for
example, in the pool with five porticoes, in the contact a disciple had
with the inner circle of leaders, etc. The historical truth of the Gospel
shines through the Fourth Gospel together with more profound reflection
upon who Jesus really is. Without John one could argue rationally against
the divinity of Jesus as some do. With John we have the most important
statement in the New Testament, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among
us." We also recall that the statement and "The Word was God" is at the
beginning of the Prologue.

John's knowledge of the holy city of Jerusalem and of the Feasts of the
Jewish people is more accurate. He may also disagree with the date of the
Last Supper in comparing his narrative with that of the Synoptics. Jesus
is mixing with all sorts of people in this Gospel including the
disrespectful comment of the reiligious leaders against the ordinary people
whom they call this "people of the earth" --those whose opinion counts for
nothing when it comes to religious thinking! How does all of this help us
on our journeying with Jesus? We probably feel the same divsions,
differences, opinions, and hostility as Jesus and his apostles were
feeling. So in this sense, our journey with Jesus up to Jerusalem for his
last days are somewhat similar in our own daily experiences with the web
and woof of life. "And the beat goes on!" Amen.