Thursday April 7
Meditation: John 5:31-47
There is one thing we cannot escape noticing when we read the Gospel today is the words “testify” and “testimony.” It almost sounds as if Jesus is talking about a courtroom trial. Only he is not judging the world. No, he is actually taking the part of the defendant!
After breaking Jewish tradition by healing someone on the Sabbath, Jesus is surrounded by hostile sceptics. And who does he name as the primary witness in his defense? None other than God the Father!
Jesus mentions three ways that God testifies on his behalf. The first are the signs and wonders he works. Then there is the “direct testimony” of the Father, which St. John the Baptist received when the Spirit descended on Jesus: “Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God” (John 1:34). And of course there are the Hebrew Scriptures themselves. As Jesus says, Moses was writing of him when he talked of a coming prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15). But it wasn’t just Moses who wrote about Jesus: There are many prophecies referring to the Messiah in the Old Testament.
God’s testimony didn’t end at the cross. It continued even more strongly after Jesus rose again. Before he ascended to heaven, Jesus told his disciples to go to the ends of the earth with the news of his love and redemption (Acts 1:8). And they went. And the ones they preached to go even farther, down through the generations even to today. And here we are disciples in our own right, called to act as witnesses to our generation.
As frail and sinful as we are, it’s rather amazing to consider the job that Jesus has entrusted to us. But it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Like Jesus, each of us has God’s word as a powerful witness. We also have the Holy Spirit, who breathes divine life into our own words and example. As long as he is with us, we don’t have to be afraid. We can learn how to sense the Spirit’s leading as we testify to the Lord. We can be his witnesses, bringing his gospel to a new generation of disciples!
Lord, teach us how to testify in the power and anointing of your Holy Spirit. Give us your Words and your heart as we share your Gospel. Amen