Is Jesus a doer of “good works” or is He guilty of “blasphemy”? Some of the Jews in today’s Gospel struggle to answer this question. They have to acknowledge that Jesus does perform many signs and healings, even driving out demons. So, He must be good unless He is in league with the devil: “This man drives out demons only by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.” (Matthew 12:24). Jesus, recognizing that His words and actions don’t fit all their expectations, challenges them to expand their horizons and give God room to act: “If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Jesus’ works of service and sacrifice are the works of his Father. Jesus’ association with tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers are the works of his Father. Jesus’ washing of the feet of His disciples and His dying a shameful death on the Cross are not only the works of his Father but also reveal the Father’s glory.
Jesus always presents a challenge to anyone who takes Him seriously. Jesus challenges us not to box God in or to create God in our image and likeness. Some things that Jesus did are certainly challenging, perhaps even scandalous, but they are the good works of his Father. Let us strive each day to follow His example of welcoming all and of showing God’s love and compassion to all, both to friend and to enemy.