John 12: 44-50
44 ¶ Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
Today’s Bible verses conclude the first half of John’s Gospel, known as the Book of Signs. The verses mark the end of Christ’s public ministry. He will go on, through the Last Supper, to teach his disciples, and then to endure his Passion and crucifixion.
The verses bring together Christ’s teaching to now. Key, fundamental themes are restated. Christ and the Father are one. To believe in Jesus is to believe in God. To see Jesus is to see God.
We hear again of Christ’s great humility. He has been selfless in the service of his Father, giving himself utterly to God’s will. It is through the authority of the Father that Christ has spoken and worked as he has done, from his performing the most striking miracles to his example of perfect virtue in every aspect, each little piece of his life. Jesus gives the entirety of his efforts to God the Father. It is through Christ that we come to the Father, giving our sins and our troubles to God, so that He may lift them off our shoulders and make our consciences clean of sin, through the person of Jesus Christ, God incarnate.
Thinking of our sins and of the judgement and of the life to come, Jesus teaches us that he is not come into the world to judge the world but to save us. Jesus is the light come to free us from darkness. All we need to do is listen to his sayings and believe. Through the grace of God, our own conscience is then our guide to free us from sin. It is the rejection of Christ of those who do not believe that shall ultimately condemn them. All we are asked to do is to know, to believe, to see, to follow. To find Christ in our hearts and to give ourselves utterly to God.
Through these verses, Jesus speaks in the face of disbelief and opposition. He implores the people to free themselves, to walk while they have the light, to become free of the oppression of the Pharisees. And he has spoken of what he knows must happen to him. In terms of Jesus’ public ministry, this could be understood as a last ringing call to faith.
Let us not be afraid. Just as the Pharisees did their utmost to keep people afraid of believing in Jesus, so there is in these times much oppression in the world, whether from violent extremists of other religions, or taking the form of the slow rot of atheism. Let us never be afraid to follow Christ.
‘[W]hile he is in the Father by the nature of his divinity, we on the contrary are in him through his bodily birth, and he again is in us by the mystery of the sacraments. From this we can learn the unity which has been achieved through the Mediator; for we abide in him and he abides in the Father, and while abiding in the Father he abides in us. In this way we attain to unity with the Father. For while Christ is in the Father naturally according to his birth, we too are in Christ naturally, since he abides in us naturally.’ St Hilary