The GospelJesus said to the Jews, “I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” Then the Jews said, “Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Why do I speak to you at all? I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him. John 8:21–30 (LectionaryPage.net)
From Ben Hatley-Cotter
I was struggling with this passage for some time. I wanted to choose it to give myself a challenge. The challenge: Interpret “I have much to say about you and much to condemn” in the image of the loving and merciful Jesus that I believe in. So I thought on it. Then, during an Abbey sermon (of course), I was reminded that Jesus was God in person. He was a person, and like all of us, vulnerable to human emotions. It’s true that he was put on Earth to condemn certain behaviors. But for most of his life he did that with a little more tact than the blanket statement “I have much to condemn.” Even within this passage it says the Jews did not understand his statement about condemning, so Jesus changed what he was saying. Jesus was human, and here it seems he allowed his human emotion to shape his words. But also like humans he gave himself grace, and he changed.