Scripture:The one who comes from Heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. (John 3:31c-34)
Reflection: Several times in John’s gospel the narrator of the events gets carried away and inserts his own reflections on an event. After narrating the account about Jesus and John baptizing and John declaring Jesus to be greater than John, the writer records a reflection about the one – Jesus – who comes from the world above (where God lives) to the Earth (where people live) to testify to what he has seen above and to speak the words of God to people. The narrator’s words reveal a fundamental presupposition of the author, namely, that Jesus bears the words of God from Heaven to Earth in order to enable those on Earth to enter eternal life in Heaven.
Later in John’s gospel, Jesus emphasizes the importance of hearing God’s words, which he speaks. He tells the Jews who believe in him, If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. Likewise, after a discussion about Abraham, Jesus tells the Jews, Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.
A spirituality of mission contains both the aspect of listening and that of believing. One listens to the Johannine Jesus; God sent him with God’s words. Once God’s words are heard, a person becomes a disciple, a believer, who knows the truth, and the truth sets him or her free to proclaim that truth boldly. Furthermore, keeping God’s words preserves one from eternal death. When potential followers of Jesus open their minds and see the biggest picture possible, they recognize the awesomeness of the mission that begins with listening and believing.
Journal/Meditation: In what specific ways does Jesus speak the words of God to you?
Prayer: Through your Son, Jesus Christ, I listen for your word, Lord God. Grant that I may believe what I hear, practice what I believe, and know your truth that sets me free. I ask this through the same Christ, my Lord. Amen.