5:42But I know that you do not have the love of God in you.

 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God?

45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

Translation is an odd business. In John 5:42 there is a tiny but important word. The word in Greek is en. It is translated here as “in” – “you do not have the love of God in you”.

The same word appears in Luke 17:20, 21:

20Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among (en) you.’ (Luke 17:20, 21)

Here the translators, for no obvious reason and in contradiction to the context, choose to translate en as “among”. Listen to how different these two texts sound if the choice is reversed so that in John Jesus says,

you do not have the love of God among you.

And in Luke, Jesus is translated as saying,

the kingdom of God is in you.

If you switch the translation of en in this way, it feels to me much more accurate. It is tragically true that the teachers of Judaism whom Jesus is addressing do not apparently have the “love of God among them”. They are not living in loving relationship, certainly not with Jesus. They are refusing the energy flow of love that brings life and freedom.

It is also true that the Pharisees whom Jesus is addressing in Luke, do have “the kingdom of God in them”. They may have turned away from this inner reality; but it remains nonetheless present in their lives.

This is why, if they had listened to Moses, they would have heard the same word of God in Jesus and would have believed that word. They would not necessarily have become “Christians”; but they would have seen the truth of their own belief system reflected in the word, teaching and actions of Jesus. They might well have returned to their own faith tradition, but with a renewed depth and a refreshed spirit.

Jesus’ sadness can be seen in the harshness of his rebuke of these religious dignitaries who have refused to heed their own truth.

What helps me to be aware of the love of God that dwells within me?

What helps me live in tune with this love?