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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | John 5:19–29

Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (NRSV)

Reflection
When was the last time you had one of those conversations with someone that went deep into the night? One of those conversations where you can really hash out complex ideas that you don’t really have articulate words for yet. Where you say something vague and kind of rambling, ending with the plea “Do you know what I mean?” and they do! When your same wavelength conversation partner, without you really explaining yourself very well, totally understands what you are saying. In conversations like these you can find yourself out on the ragged edge of the usefulness of words and yet you understand each other. It’s like you can see inside each other’s brains, into each other’s thoughts, and just know the same things.

I would give almost anything to have a real conversation like that with Jesus, to see into his mind and witness how all the divinity and humanity zip around through his synapses and coexist. I think the closest we can get to that is passages like this one from John. How does the Son “see” what the Father is doing in real time? Augmented reality glasses? Do those who hear Jesus’ word and believe it pass from death to life literally or metaphorically? Are we talking faithful zombies or believers with a new take on life? I wish Jesus had ended this passage with “Do you know what I mean?” and I would just know. But faith isn’t about knowing. Faith is about hope and trust: hope in the righteousness of God making all things right; trust in the Holy Spirit that gathers us in to be a part of that goodness and grace.

Prayer
All-knowing God, come to us face-to-face as your Son Jesus did. Look into our eyes and inspire faith in us. Plant seeds of hope. Grow trust in the deep souls of our being, late into the night. Amen.

Written by Alex Wirth, Minister for Evangelism


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