Then Jesus cried aloud:
'Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me.
And whoever sees me sees him who sent me'.
This reading presents to us the inter-dependence of the Father and the Son. Glory as I reflected in my last post, is what God does for us in love and here Jesus tells us what he does for us is on behalf of the Father: they work together, not alone. Jesus is a reflection of the Father, if we see Him we see the Father. Devotion to Jesus – looking upon Him through icons, through reading Scripture, in worship, in sharing in the Eucharist draws us into relationship with the Father, because through Jesus we see the Father. Sacraments exist because Jesus tells us that if we look on Him we see the Father ––sacraments always refer to Christ – to his action in the world, and they enable us to enter fully into the relationship that exists between the Father and the Son.
I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them,
for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
It is remarkable that Jesus says that he comes not to judge the world. We have reflected this week on the meaning of betrayal but Jesus never makes betrayal the main narrative. The main narrative, the God-story is love in Christ; our actions, our sin, are not the main story. This is important because we might be tempted to be drawn into the story of sin, especially if we have been wounded or hurt. People who experience terrible abuse or trauma, will be tempted to remain in that narrative, to let that define them and ultimately I’m afraid it may destroy them. Indeed people who have been hurt very little also might enjoy styling themselves as victims so that they can feel justified in themselves in attacking and blaming others. Or, we might be tempted to remain in the narrative of what we’ve done to others. We might be unable to turn to the Cross in repentance, or unable to believe that we are forgiven.
But, the good news is that the story we are called to listen to this week, is Christ’s story: he says – ‘I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness’. Christ comes for us – on behalf of the Father. He comes to us not as judge but as redeemer. This is the resurrection hope and it is truly remarkable, truly glorious. Keeping our faces turned towards Christ and what he has done for us should draw us away from everything that might otherwise lead us to despair.
The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak.
Jesus de-personalises judgment here – he does not come to accuse, but his Words have life and truth in them. He speaks what the Father has given Him, and he speaks in love. The words will stand on their own in the last day, but we can be sure that Jesus is not the accuser - he cannot stand in a position of hatred or accusation towards anyone, as his countenance is one of peace. It is in this sense that we are able to call him friend. In a similar way, we know that we shouldn’t judge others, and we know how hard that is, but we should speak the words that Christ has given us from the Father, and if we are immersed in those words, if they feed us and renew us I’m sure we’ll find that neither can we accuse others. We are called to forgive them in love; the love that Christ has shown us from the Father.
The Father gives of Himself; relationship with God means a sharing in his glory, as we’ve seen and a sharing in His mission to the world. A little further on in John’s Gospel, Jesus says:
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father’ (14:12)
God incorporates us and shares with us in his healing and reconciling ministry. What a vocation we are all invited to participate in! Jesus doesn’t point back to himself, but to the Father and what the Father will do in us. His actions are not the end but the beginning, the beginning of the new creation – the new kingdom, the kingdom of heaven. This is a life-giving, nurturing, empowering God. We may be tempted to look back to Christ as though if only we could reach into history and touch him then we will finally understand everything. But as Jesus leaves the world he looks forward, he looks to our future which we share with him and the Father. What a gift we are given! What a life that he leaves for us to live! It is wonderful! It is glorious! We are looking always to the future, our future in Christ, declaring what he has done and rejoicing in it.
Then Jesus cried aloud: ‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, 49for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. 50And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.’