Among the many gifts of Moses it is clear, today, that he is a skilled negotiator! The text teaches us, again, that the God of mercy is always willing to overlook our inability to choose correctly and, as always, ready to start something new. Our readiness to admit that we have got it horribly wrong at times and our willingness to return to the God of mercy, marks the beginning of something new. Moses knows that God is merciful and so, for the good of the wayward people he leads, he falls on that mercy. During Lent we too are invited to evoke God’s mercy on our waywardness.
Jesus is also driving a hard bargain in the Gospel. It is much more serious than the dialogue between Moses and God – and we continue to feel the uncomfortable tension in the scene. Jesus challenges us: do we really believe who Jesus is, and how has this changed our worldview?
Today Jesus asks us to consider if our lives are congruent with what we profess with our mouths. The witness of our lives indicates what we really believe. Often Christians are accused of being hypocritical because our actions do not mirror our words – our profession of faith. We get it badly wrong. Lent is a time in which we try to make sure that we, again, align our profession of faith, our words, our lifestyles and our actions so that they are all congruent with each other.
Notice too that the mounting tension between Jesus and his listeners is as a result of the man “ratting” on Jesus whom he cured earlier in this chapter of John. We, like Jesus’ hearers, are invited in this Lenten time to make a choice and our choice has consequences. Like the father in the prodigal son, God is waiting for us to make a move. Jesus tells us that God has done his bit by sending him and that his works bear witness to this. It is now up to us: what will we chose? Which areas of my life are incongruent at this time?