Text, context, pretext- 5th Week of Lent – Friday- John 10: 31-42

A text taken out of its context, is a pretext. That’s what we are looking at in this pericope. The Jews, like some of us, love taking the text of Jesus outside its context, using it as a pretext for their own agenda (or whoever is the target). His question is quite clear, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?”

Chapter 10 opens with a new clash between Jesus and the Jews and occurs at the feast of ‘the Dedication of the temple’, three months after the feast of the Tabernacles (chapter 7). Jesus’ appeal to His ‘good works’ is rejected on the grounds that He has blasphemed, and most of this stems from the fact that in chapter nine, He healed a man born blind on the Sabbath. This is the issue for them; the rest is the excuse or pretext.

Jesus gives a scriptural argument based on the principle of “lesser to a greater.” Jesus says, “If scripture can speak of humans as gods” (Psalm 82:6- Septuagint), then how much more is the case with the consecrated agent of the Father, namely Jesus? (All references from the Jerome Biblical commentary).

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