Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him. Jn 8:21-30
As we inch closer and closer to the most wonderful day of Easter, we can feel the tensions building between Jesus’ ministry and the Pharisees and scribes of the Jewish community. They keep testing Jesus back and forth, trying to catch him off guard, but Jesus never does. He keeps spreading the truth to the people, and in the case of today’s reading, directly and honestly to them.
It is amazing how the truth can really set some people into a tizzy. Honesty is supposed to be the best policy, so why do people tend to get so angry with the actual truth? I know that I have been taken aback by the simple words of truth given to me in various instances, and yes, it has made me enraged. It should not make me that way, but I think that in our own ways, we do not like to be wrong, or on the other side of a situation. We have an innate need to be correct. Sometimes, we have put so much of ourselves into something, for it to turn out to be false, or bad, or any number of things that could be considered incorrect, we can take that personally. In the moment, it can really upset us. It can really make us want to react, retaliate, and really just “get back” at the person, who is presenting the other side.
I think that is what was happening to the Pharisees, to a point. They had placed themselves up as high as they could in stature among the community, that they didn’t want, or feel a need, to change or look at their situation differently. There was no way they could not be teaching the truth to the people, and acting in the proper manner. There were laws and things to be taught and followed through with. Jesus was just trying to get them to open up their hearts and minds to the idea that maybe they had lost their way. Don’t we get that way sometimes? We get lost on our ventures in the world, and need a compass back. Is it not refreshing that time and time again we can get set back on course?