5: 19 Jesus said to the Jews, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.

20 The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. 21 Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes.

22 The Father judges* no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

 24 Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.

*nb Addendum on judgment afternoon of 29 May

It is important reading these words to keep the context in mind. Jesus is speaking to “the Jews”. This does not mean, or even suggest, that we are to understand here that Jesus is speaking to all Jews. John uses the expression “the Jews” to refer to the religious leadership of their day. If we were to paraphrase “the Jews” in our context, we might say, “Jesus said to the Bishops, priests and deacons”. It is important not to lose sight of this as we proceed; because hard words are coming.

The hard words levelled against these religious officials are coming because they have failed to recognize the “greater works” that God is doing in and through Jesus. They have stood in the face of God’s manifest works and, rather than allowing their hearts to open, they are “astonished”.

These men who are committed to teaching the Word of God are unable to hear the words of Jesus and accept that they are words from God. Their failure brings them under “judgment” and causes them to fail to truly live.

The tragedy here is that those to whom Jesus is speaking are the very people who are intended to be the instruments by which heart-opening is encouraged, supported and nurtured. These are the people designated in the community to be the truth-tellers of God’s love and mercy. They are the people who are set aside to guide the community to the way that “has passed from death to life”. But all these religious dignitaries can do is put obstacles in the way of people hearing the word of God in Jesus and honouring the Presence he embodies.

How might I stand in the say of people perceiving the work of love?

What the disciplines I can practice in my life that help my heart open to an awareness of the Presence of God manifest in all of life?