Today’s reading is John 10:22-42:
Jesus Is Rejected by the Jews.
22 It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 The Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him; and they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
“If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” (10:24)
Jesus sighs. How many ways do I have to tell them plainly? “I told you, and you do not believe” (10:25).
I ask myself, “Was not the neighbor with whom he unexpectedly crossed my path enough? Is not the bus I caught two minutes after it was supposed to leave enough? Is not the sunset over the Charles enough? Is not his spirit among us when we worship him enough? Are not the wounds on his hands that reach out to comfort me enough? Is not his whisper in my heart enough?” Christ calls out in perfect, divinely orchestrated ways every moment of our day, and yet, in our distrust, we ask him for more.
This Lent, at Harvard, amidst the overabundance of things that call out for our time and attention day in and day out, let us learn to always sit with Christ. Let us see plainly that Jesus is Lord and that we are his sheep, that our shepherd feels each pang of sadness, rejoices with every shout, and hears every prayer. Let us take time to find him present with us and to believe. He calls out that we might allow him, as our shepherd, to lead every moment we live. That is the gift of the present. He waits for us to recognize that he is constantly, plainly doing works in his Father’s name. “I and the Father are one” (10:30).
When we take up stones against Jesus, when we cry out against him in disbelief or when we wound him with our apathy and disregard, he waits. “I have shown you many good works from my Father; for which do you stone me?” (10:32). Let us turn into our hearts this Lent and find Jesus, him to whom we can entrust the present and to whom we can abandon our wills, waiting there, because he told us, “the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Let us trust in God’s providence and mercy this Lent as we have never before, and we, too, will find that everything that John the Baptist said about this man is true (10:41).
Maggie Hartman ’17 is a Senior in Leverett House studying the Comparative Study of Religion.