41 “I do not accept glory from human beings,42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God[d]?
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
John 5:41-45 NIV
The above passage came up at Missio on Sunday, and I was struck in particular by the words in bold. Specifically, I came across the idea that the law of Moses was the law they used to justify their place in society, it was the law they used to accuse. And yet Jesus says very clearly: this law you accuse with is a law you can’t meet yourself. You cannot hold up the standard you hold others too.
How amazingly true for us today. The church’s main message to society seems to ultimately be one of condemning the sexual ethics of the world and yet it is undoubtedly the sexual failings of clergy and church-goers that has torn so many communities and marriages apart.
The challenge then is not to sit back and hurl abuse at the sins of the church, but instead to ask: what is the law “on whom your hopes are set”. I’m not sure I’ve even got the self-awareness to know that for myself, but it’s a haunting and challenging question.