Facts and Hearts – Stubborn Things

Thursday the Fourth Week of Lent
John 5:31-47

John Adams, a skilled lawyer and our second President, once said that “Facts are stubborn things.” Evidence is supposed to be more powerful than mere assertions.  But the human mind and heart can be impervious to facts—witness the power of various prejudices and conspiracy theories. From a willful toddler to the most powerful earthly leader, we can readily choose to disregard evidence that doesn’t conform to our desires, expectations and existing beliefs, especially when that evidence challenges us to change.

The Mosaic law required two or three witnesses to support a claim or defense.  In today’s gospel, Jesus presents his adversaries with five witnesses for him and his authority, including the authority to cure on the Sabbath: (1) John the Baptist; (2) the Father; (3) the Scriptures; (4) Moses; and (5) Jesus’ own miraculous works.

For some, that evidence became compelling, and they began to believe in him. For others, however, it didn’t matter.  Their minds were made up.  Their ears were closed.  Their eyes were covered. Their necks had stiffened. Their hearts were hardened.

Jesus, trouble my mind.  Help me to see and hear. Bend my neck and soften my heart so that I can experience your presence and power, even in the people, places and situations I do not expect or desire. –jc