Short Meditations in John 5: 45. Moses’ Accusation
Jn 5:45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.
People often seem to get very defensive when it comes to talking about God because they seem to think He is always pointing a finger at them, pointing out their failures, their misdemeanors, their mistakes and so on, but that is far from the truth. Jesus pointed this out to his Jewish audience, basically saying, “I don’t need to do that, you condemn yourselves.” There are a number of things in life that reveal to us the sort of people we are.
First of all, there is that thing we call ‘conscience’, that inner voice that nudges and prods and points out to us when we are getting it wrong. You’ve only got to be an astute people watcher to realise that many people struggle with guilt and seek to use a variety of mechanisms to cover it up. Oh, yes, they don’t need telling.
Many years ago I had an elderly friend who was arguing against the Gospel and this went on for several months until he eventually argued himself into a corner and he gave himself to Christ. Later on he complained to me, “You never told me I should stop smoking in all of our discussions!” I laughed and replied, “Of course not, it was obvious you knew you wanted to give up, you knew it was bad for you; you didn’t need me to tell you.” (A quick lesson: so often you don’t need to try to condemn your non-Christian friends, they are doing a good job of it already; they need telling how to get out of failure.)
Second, there is the way that others respond to us. Consider the miserable, grumpy old lady who complains that no one cares about her and she has no friends. One day she might wake up to the fact that she feels alone because her complaints and grumpiness drive people away!
Then, of course for us who are Christians, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit who convicts us when we have spoken out of turn and unkindly or done something we should not have done.
For the Jews, in Jesus’ day’ and even today, they had the books of Moses, containing the Law. As the apostle Paul said to the Jewish contingent in Rome, “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; if you know his will …You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?” (Rom 2:17,18,23)
Put aside any references in the Pentateuch to a coming prophet of the stature of Moses, the Law was there to act as a school-teacher (Gal 3:24 as one version puts it), to point out the life that God wants us to live and so, consequently it also reveals our sinfulness, our failures. As Jesus said to those leaders accusing a woman of adultery, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (Jn 8:7) No one picked up a stone and instead they all just quietly slipped away.