Genesis 17.3-9; Psalm 104; John 8.51-59
We began this week with a woman accused of personal impropriety, for which the stipulated penalty was stoning; today Jesus himself is accused of the far more substantial crime of blasphemy, for which the penalty was also stoning. The conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees has reached a fevered pitch. Jesus evaded his accusers and hid himself; indeed that is the reason (for this Gospel reading was traditionally read on Passion Sunday) that we customarily veil crucifixes and statuary for the final two weeks of Lent, the period known as ‘Passion-tide.’
He hides himself, though, only so that he may be found by those who seek him sincerely. As God of old revealed himself in the mysterious name (YHWH) which is really the sound of the life-breath that pulses through all of us, so Jesus prepares to reveal himself to his true disciples as the Life which cannot finally be extinguished.