Commentary on the Lectionary: John 10:22-30
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Commentary on the Lectionary: John 10:22-30
(April 25, 2010)

This commentary marks the one-year anniversary of this series of weekly commentaries and essays. I welcome feedback on individual essays and on the series in general, which can be sent to [email protected].
This week’s Gospel passage ends with Jesus declaring, “I and the Father are one.” What does this mean? Christian theologians have given considerable thought to this question, and this declaration has been central to seeing Jesus as God incarnate. Rather than trying to discern in what ways Jesus was divine, I would like to emphasize some important implications of what it means for Jesus and God to be one.
We can’t see or feel God, and it is difficult for us to model our lives on God who, as best we can tell, doesn’t share human physical or psychological experiences. On the other hand, we have reports about what Jesus said and did. We are told that Jesus had the same feelings, desires, and temptations as other humans. Therefore, we can use Jesus as a model for how to live our lives. Among his attributes, the biblical consistently shows Jesus to be a man of compassion, concern, and consideration. He aimed to hurt no one, and in many cases he helped prevent harm to innocent individuals.

I cannot imagine such a person surveying modern factory farming, with its abuse of animals; its harm to God’s earth; and its deleterious effects on poor and hungry people, and declaring it good. Jesus said, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). We can’t be perfect, because our egocentric desires cause us to stumble. But we are called to aim for perfection, and towards that end, a plant-based diet is a big step in the right direction.

Go on to: Commentary on the Lectionary: Colossians 3:11; Child Abuse
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