Genesis 17: 3-9
John 8: 51-59


The context of this gospel dialogue is that the religious leaders were angry that Jesus broke sabbath laws. Now they describe him as being possessed. Each of the four gospels reports this accusation. What was he saying and doing that brought this accusation?

His sabbath-breaking actions were the initial trigger, but now they think Jesus is making himself an equal to God. Jesus tells them that God is at work through him. He tells them that Abraham, who trusted in this same God that Jesus was revealing, dreamed of a day when a Messiah would bring about the truth that all God’s people would be blessed through Abraham. Jesus claimed that Abraham ‘saw’ this reality and that all these centuries late, it was ‘at hand’ through him.

We have, on recent Sundays, heard from John’s gospel, Jesus speaks of living water and spiritual blindness. In today’s passage, Jesus is not speaking literally of avoiding death but rather of living through death to life. Abraham could now truly live the life God promised. It had always been God’s desire. Jesus was bringing it about.

The exchange from the religious leaders is heated. They want to stone Jesus, but John explains that his ‘kairos’ has not yet come. As the gospel unfolds, he will be executed, and in this greatest of mysteries, he will conquer death. Those too blind to see his goodness when he was alive and speaking to them probably remained blind and disbelieving. Our calling is: “I believe, Lord; help my unbelief.”

Brian Traynor CP  has been involved in faith formation for many years especially in the form of parish missions and through the Passionist Family Group Movement. Brian is a member of the Passionist community at Holy Cross, Templestowe.