May 5, 2017 by eneubauer
Gospel Reading: John 3:31-36 (As we run toward Pentecost)
(1.) The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. (2.) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, (3.) but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.
I see this Gospel reading in three distinct parts. First, I appreciate how the writer leads with the important facts. Jesus is divine, His perspective – eternal, His truth absolute. This portion of scripture is given to assure those hearing these words – this message is trustworthy and true. I appreciate that this first section, outlining Jesus’ authority / trustworthiness, is the longest section. Why the longest? It’s like God has purchased a HUGE digital billboard and is saying to US…”listen to Me…this message is kind of important…I don’t want you to miss it or be uninformed…”
Second, the meat of the message is simple – you can trust what you have heard. You can believe what you have been hearing from the Apostles and the disciples regarding Jesus. He did die, was buried and has risen from the dead…and we saw it! Hence, whoever “believes in the Son has eternal life.” Why, because Jesus conquered death and in doing so offers to us eternal life. This is the “Good News” for everyone, especially those who suffered persecution after following Jesus or lived under the fear of violent persecution. In this, Jesus has granted all who follow new vision, an eternal vision that puts into perspective what is truly important.
Finally, it is interesting that the writer didn’t end there. He is reminding those hearing this message (past, present, future) that we do have a choice. I recently had a hard conversation with my eldest child. She was struggling with a decision she made and the consequences that followed as a result. Those consequences brought unease and a lack of inner-peace. I simply stated, “the reason why we encourage first time obedience (including the adults in our family) to the rules is that in obedience, in recognizing the truth we experience peace.” Simply stated, when I chose to recognize the truth of Christ and His will for my life I experience His peace. There is an ease in acknowledging truth. It makes the difficult moments we all experience a little more palatable.
Today I choose truth over the lie and in doing so avoid the wrath that follows…