There is a sharp contrast in today’s gospel between those who hear Jesus and are believe, and those who despite hearing, begin to plot to bring him down. On the one hand are the crowd, and even the soldiers of the Pharisees are moved by the words of Jesus. On the other, the chief priest and Pharisees attempt to have him arrested.
So where did the Pharisees go astray? Certainly, the Pharisees question, “Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?” highlights that it is the established authorities who cannot see the merit in Jesus’ words. Even more telling, the Pharisees imply that the crowd is moved by Jesus because they do “not know the law.” This echoes many of Paul’s teachings in his letter to the Romans about the peril that the law holds in leading us astray.
Certainly, that has a lesson for us today: to not let our positions of power or fixed ways of thinking limit our ability to respond to Jesus.
Todd Fojo is a former PVI volunteer (Honduras in 2005-2006). He is currently a resident physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO