I believe in the veracity of the Gospels because I can honestly relate to the hatred that is expressed in them! I can see how people are so quick to judge, to condemn and to kill with their words and actions. I know how we are capable of ignoring the 99% of good in someone and fixating ourselves on the 1%. We can say and do the right things 99% of the time, but we will always be remembered for that one time we did not. The objectivity of failure is clear for all to see, but the affect, the ramifications of failure depends significantly upon the health and well-being of the recipient, and that subjective reality is not so clear for all to see.
“The Jews picked up stones.” Why? To throw them at Jesus. Why? To kill him! Why? Because of the good works that he performed and the words that he spoke. But most of all, because of who He is.
Yes. The Lord performed miracles – MIRACLES! No one else had ever performed miracles. Not a single Pharisee, or scribe, or priest or elder. Not even St. John the Baptist (“John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true”). Only Jesus was able to change the deadly course of nature, of history, of life.
The Jews wanted to stone Jesus because He spoke like no other. He spoke in a way that held the attention of all who had ears and wished – begged - to understand. Jesus spoke in a way that had authority. The Lord spoke a sublime and illuminating word that the Pharisees and scribes could never do! Jesus spoke without notes. We know that every word traveled from the Father in Heaven and through the Lord’s heart and soul.
But in the end, his enemies picked up stones to kill him because he made himself God and they could not prove him wrong! “You, a man, are making yourself God.” Their minds could not accept this fact because the hardness of their hearts. St. Augustine tells us how to get to faith: “Believe and then seek to understand.” Has the Lord not shown us, over and over again, that we must first believe and then we will see? Well, the Pharisees could not prove him wrong because He was right. You cannot prove that someone does not exist when they exist. Does God exist? Yes, and He is Jesus! And Jesus is living proof of the Father and the Holy Spirit.
There is so much good in Jesus. In fact, it’s all good. But the Jews have their minds fixated on the 1% that is questionable. And it is questionable only because they are in sin. Yes, they are the ones that have covered their eyes to His miracles. They have repeatedly ignored His words and disgusted themselves with his love! They are the ones that have made themselves better than their gods by twisting the truth and setting traps. But the Lord continues to walk in peace, eluding them by walking in their midst’s and escaping from their power.
Picking up stones and throwing them at others is something we learned to do as children, most likely by watching our friends or parents doing it to others. The Lord never picked up a stone. If he had, he would have turned it into bread. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to drop the grudges, anger and bitterness we hold onto and to convert our stony hearts to hearts made of flesh.