I’ve got a radical idea! Let’s try an experiment in reading this passage. How would it enrich our understanding of God’s Word today and our understanding of our call to be the apostles (“sent ones”) and martyrs (“witnesses”) if we read Jesus’ loud cry of verses 44-50, substituting our names for His? With the obvious understanding that neither you nor I is God or can speak for God in exactly the same way as Jesus Christ, the Son, how might it change us to see ourselves as ones called by God to do His will?
Just as the Father sent the Son into the world to reveal Himself, the Son has sent us into the world to reveal Him.
Who’s up for this grand experiment? Here we go. Remember, you are to read this as if you are the one saying it about yourself.
“He who believes me, believes not in me, but in Him who sent me (Jesus Christ). And he who sees me sees Him who sent me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes me should not abide in darkness; for I did not come into the world to judge the world but to show the One who can save the world.
He who rejects me and does not receive my words, has that which judges him. God’s Word, which I have spoken, will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Son who sent me gave me a command what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Son has told me, so I speak.”
How did that feel? There are a few places where we have to be careful that we don’t slip into thinking that we are God, but isn’t it amazing how well what Jesus said fits what we should be able to say?
I feel a mixture of several sensations: power and fear, glory and shame. Power, because it is a powerful thing to be filled with the Spirit and anointed by Him to speak the Word of God. Power, because handling the Word of God is like holding a fire hose that is so powerful it is likely to be uncontrolled and used improperly.
Fear, because I have been given the authority and responsibility to speak in God’s name. Fear, because I have the Holy Spirit who inspired Scripture living inside me, and I am His Temple, and as I recognize this, I have a holy fear in God’s presence.
Glory, because I have been chosen to be a bearer of Christ to those around me. Glory because I am a child of light, called to be a bearer of light and a star that shines in the darkness of this world.
Shame, because I have not lived up to this light. Shame, because knowing now the power and glory of God, I realize my true calling in life and how little of my time and energy and thoughts are devoted to Him.
It is through what we, the Body of Christ, say and do, that people will see and hear Jesus Christ. We are so united to Jesus Christ, as He is united to the Father, that He is able to speak and act through us. What a miracle! What a privilege! What glory and power!
But what potential for fear and shame. Are the things we are saying and doing, individually and corporately, the things He has told us to do?
And so this experiment was, for me, very enlightening. I saw a glimpse of whom I was created and redeemed to be. I felt, for a moment, the unity with Christ and His will that I am to experience every moment.
What will I do now? What will you do now?
Prayer: O Christ: may I be united with You, speak Your words, and do Your will: by the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by thy holy Nativity and Circumcision; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation; by thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by thy Cross and Passion; by thy precious Death and Burial; by thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension, and by the Coming of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Points for Mediation:
- What did you experience as you read John 12:44-50 in this light?
- How did Christ illuminate you through His Spirit as you read this passage and became aware of His call on your life?
Resolution: I resolve to listen closely to what Jesus is telling me in this passage. When I see what He wants me to see, I resolve to do it.
© 2016 Fr. Charles Erlandson