“Oh! Harden not your hearts as to who He is.”
Jesus continues to challenge the Jews about His real identity. They regarded his “I AM” as the worst form of blasphemy as He stated that He was one with the Eternal God. He sees that they are spiritually sick and the dialogue turns very ugly – they have no answer to His diagnosis and run out of intelligent comments accusing Him of being possessed.
It was them (and us) who were possessed by protecting their vested interests, keeping the peace and subduing all criticism so as to maintain the status quo. When He challenges us through His Church, its ministers and others, we invariably become hostile and defensive losing all prospects of seeing the light He is trying to bring to our darkness. We miss the point that He came to bring to an end the stranglehold that death held over mankind by removing the prospect of facing the absolute wrath of God and giving to us the gift of eternal life.
We are NEVER to challenge the Lord when He challenges us. Ask Him questions and understanding but do not argue with Him!! It is when we react negatively to constructive challenges by Him that we run the risk of Him just leaving us to die (spiritually) in our sins. Sometimes by the grace of God, we are forcibly brought to our senses like St Paul (when he was known as Saul) who was thrown off his horse by a bright light and temporarily blinded. He then had his sight restored and saw the light of Christ to our and many other’s eternal benefit.
We often just ignore Our Lord’s invitation and shrug Him off as though He never died for us. He was just a good Man favoured by God. This is the time when Jesus hides from us. This is when He does what He did in the scripture today – just disappears from the temple as they try to kill Him with stones (the punishment for blasphemy).
Jesus was eventually killed by them when the Father’s timing permitted it. He knew the Father so intimately and all He came to do was to reveal to man, the true compassion and mercy of the Father and the way He wanted us to live. He came to reveal the path from a life leading to eternal death, to a life leading to eternal life.
What stones do you hold ready to chase Jesus away when He is not falling in with your plans and your will? Ignoring Him, doubting Him, perhaps even accusing Him of not acting in your best interests? He acts to our eternal benefit.
Lord Jesus, crucified by the hardened hearts of men who refuse to see the light, forcibly change my heart (like you did for Saul) to see your light, your eternal light. Change my Heart O God! Amen.