The Jews then picked up stones to throw at him; so Jesus said, “I have openly done many good works among you, which the Father gave me to do. For which of these do you stone me?”
The Jews answered, “We are not stoning you for doing a good work, but for insulting God; you are only a man, and you make yourself God.”
Then Jesus replied, “Is this not written in your law: I said, you are gods? So those who received this word of God were called gods, and the Scripture is always true. What then should be said of the one anointed, and sent into the world, by the Father? Am I insulting God when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’?
If I am not doing the works of my Father, do not believe me. But if I do them, even if you have no faith in me, believe because of the works I do; and know that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
Again they tried to arrest him, but Jesus escaped from their hands. He went away again to the other side of the Jordan, to the place where John had baptized, and there he stayed.
Many people came to Jesus, and said, “John worked no miracles, but he spoke about you, and everything he said was true.” And many in that place became believers.
Why were the religious leaders so upset with Jesus that they wanted to kill him? Doesn’t this kind of reaction remind us of our tendency to stew over one negative experience and forget the many positive experiences we might have had in the past? When someone disappoints us, we tend to see only the negative in that person and forget whatever goodness he or she might have shown us in the past. From this tendency we can understand how people can be quick to judge, condemn or kill with their words and actions. This seems to be the case in today’s gospel. Jesus defends himself against the violent reactions of the Jews by reminding them of the good he has done before them, which his Father had given him to do. Jesus appealed to the people to believe that the work they have witnessed was his Father’s work. But in the end, his enemies, acting like children, picked up stones to throw at him because he claimed he was God. Anger can lead to violence. Jesus is appealing to us not to hold on to our anger and bitterness and to turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.
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