Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.
“I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
If there is one thing we know for sure, it is that times change, people change (at least the cast of characters change), but human nature never changes. In the Old Testament, God described the Israelites as a stiff-necked people. That was true in Moses’ time, and it is no less accurate today!
The Israelites had their Golden Calf. So, do we. As we continue our Lenten journey, we are challenged to reflect on our false gods and to root out our sins of ingratitude and hypocrisy before the Lord. These false gods may not be made of molten metal, but they are equally destructive to the human soul. Like the original golden calf, they, too, turn us from God’s way to one of our choosing. We, like them before us, are left to find our way back home.
Jesus’ sonship involves the identity of his will and actions with the Father’s. The works of which he speaks are giving life and judgment. He who believes based on Jesus’ word has already passed into the realm where death no longer reigns. The coming age is already a reality in the person of Jesus Christ. Through faith in Him, when God’s inscrutable justice demands punishment, His perfect atonement for our sins allows mercy to prevail. Jesus’ judgment is that of God; therefore, it is by its very nature perfect. It is without favoritism or error. As we reflect, we are encouraged by the knowledge of God’s great mercy toward all who seek him and come before him with a repentant heart. While we may forget the Lord, he never forgets us – his mercy endures forever.