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John 8: 21-30 | Lent Week 5, Tuesday | King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version |
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21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
22 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.

Jesus speaks of his crucifixion as he speaks of his being sent by his Father and of his being consubstantial with his Father. Jesus has made himself man, and this was necessary for our sakes. However, his being is most truly in heaven. He is divine. The entirety of Jesus’ being, as God the Son, is beyond our human comprehension. In order to be with Jesus, we must surrender our fears and our doubts and have faith in what has been promised to us. Jesus is from above – and he asks us to join him.

Many have believed, but the Jewish authorities persist in unbelief. There is a terrible warning, of justice: if you do not repent, you will die in your sins. We are presented with the fact of judgement and also with the ready opportunity of redemption. Which shall we choose?

To know Jesus is to accept the redemption he brings to us. His truth is self-evident, and to know Jesus is to accept his mercy. It would be foolishness to reject the great saving event of Jesus’ life on earth.

Jesus tells the scribes and the Pharisees that they are going to choose to keep looking for the Messiah when he is actually right in front of them. Their search will, therefore, be doomed to frustration and failure. It is because they reject Jesus that they will die in their sins. They could so easily know him and they refuse to do so. We may imagine Jesus’ sorrow that this is the way they have decided upon for themselves.

We are reminded in this passage of the Bible of our true relationship with Jesus. He is from above, we are from below. We are of this world, Jesus is not of this world. We are called to direct the entirety of our lives to our life in Christ. As a part of this journey, Jesus teaches us to give away our attachments to the things of this world and to derive all of our sense of the significance of life from that which is divine, from Jesus.

It is in this way that Jesus enables us to experience contrition and, through confessing our sins, to become closer to him. Many did believe.

‘O wonderful power of the cross! O indescribable glory of the passion! There is the tribunal of the Lord, and the judgement of the world, and the power of the crucified one.

‘Lord, you drew all things to yourself so that all nations everywhere in their dedication to you might celebrate in a full, clear sacramental rite what was done only in the Jewish Temple and in signs and shadows.’ Pope St Leo the Great

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‘Jesus was a revolutionary, a man who challenged the status quo and fought for the rights of the marginalized. He taught us to love our neighbours, to care for the poor, and to stand up against oppression. I believe that his message is just as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago, and that we must continue to work for social justice and equality in his name.’ Maya Angelou

The doctrine of the Trinity states that there is one God in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This belief is based on passages such as Matthew 28:19, where Jesus commands his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In this doctrine, Jesus is seen as the second person of the Trinity, equal in nature and essence to God the Father but distinct in his role and activities.

In Protestant Christianity, the belief in Jesus as God the Son is rooted in the Bible. One such passage is John 1:1-14, which says: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:1, 14) This passage equates the Word, who became flesh as Jesus, with God, indicating his deity.

Similarly, Colossians 1:15-20 says: ‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation… For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.’ (Colossians 1:15, 19-20) This passage indicates that Jesus is the exact representation of God and that all the fullness of deity dwells in him.

Philippians 2:5-11 is another passage that emphasizes Jesus’ deity: ‘Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.’ (Philippians 2:5-9)

In Catholic Christianity, the belief in Jesus as God the Son is also rooted in the Bible and is reinforced by the teachings of the Church. The Council of Nicaea in 325 CE and the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE both affirmed the belief in Jesus as God the Son, one divine person with two natures, fully human and fully divine. This belief is expressed in the Nicene Creed, which states, ‘We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.’

Pope John Paul II emphasized the significance of this belief in his encyclical ‘Redemptor Hominis,’ where he wrote: ‘The truth about Christ, who is at the same time true God and true man, is the center of the faith and life of the Church.’ He also emphasized the hypostatic union, saying: ‘The hypostatic union, which is a mystery of faith, means that in Jesus Christ there is only one person, but two natures, the divine and the human, are permanently united.’

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