Incredulity (Jn 12:37-12:37)

“Although Jesus

Had performed

So many signs

In their presence,

They still did not believe

In him.”

Τοσαῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ σημεῖα πεποιηκότος ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν οὐκ ἐπίστευον εἰς αὐτόν,

Then John uniquely indicated that although Jesus had performed (πεποιηκότος) so many of his signs (Τοσαῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ σημεῖα) in their presence (ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν), many of the Jerusalem Jews still did not believe in him (οὐκ ἐπίστευον εἰς αὐτόν).  John surveyed the situation.  Jesus had done a lot of miracles or signs in or near Jerusalem, but many of these people still did not believe in Jesus.  What sign or miracle would you want to believe in Jesus?

The praying to false idols (Wis 13:17-13:19)

“When he prays

About possessions,

His marriage,

His children,

He is not ashamed

To address a lifeless thing.

For health,

He appeals to a thing that is weak.

For life

He prays to a thing that is dead.

For aid

He entreats a thing that is utterly inexperienced.

For a prosperous journey,

He asks a thing that cannot take a step.

For money-making,

For work,

For success with his hands,

He asks strength of a thing

Whose hands have no strength.”

Now what seems ridiculous happens. This carpenter now turns to worship the image that he just created. In fact, he prays (προσευχόμενος) to this image for protection of his possessions, his marriage, and his children. He is not ashamed to speak to this lifeless image that he himself created. The author then points out the incredulity of this picture. The woodcutter prays for health to a weak piece of wood. He prays for life and asks for aid from a dead (νεκρὸν) piece of wood. He asks for help on his journey from something that cannot even walk. He asks for money and success in his work from a weak piece of wood with no strength. The irony is evident.