Thursday of Week 2 of Easter – Gospel

Commentary on John 3:31-36

In rather abstract language, the Gospel today contrasts Jesus with those who see the world with purely worldly eyes. Jesus is the One who comes “from above”, although he lives in the world. The “one who is of the earth” can mean any of us but here seems to refer to John the Baptist, who spoke of “earthly things” in the sense that he spoke simply as a human being, as opposed to Jesus as the Word.

But the “one who comes from heaven” is above all and:

He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony.

What Jesus has seen and heard comes through direct communication with his Father.

But “no one accepts his testimony”. Not literally every single person (obviously not true), but all those who are entirely immersed in this material world. Yet there are some who do listen and who do accept what Jesus is saying, and they know that what God says is trustworthy. When anyone fully accepts Christ’s witness, he accepts that Jesus is truly from God and that God acted (and continues to act) through him for the establishment of the Kingdom and the salvation of the world. For:

He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.

He is the Word of God. But the sentence can be understood to apply to everyone who has consciously become a disciple and apostle for Jesus and his message. Jesus is the Light of the world but his followers are also called to be the light of the world (Matt 5:14).

The Son, Jesus, is the perfect image of the Father, and shares generously with us what he has received from his Father. Life without end awaits all those who believe in the Son, who believe his words and accept them as their way of life.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life but must endure God’s wrath.

Notice that one who believes “has” eternal life. Eternal life begins now with the response of faith.

We must not think that God takes vengeance on those who disobey Jesus. God can never be angry in our normal sense of the word. But rather, those who choose to go another way, the way of darkness and evil, can only expect to meet death. They are the victims, not of God’s anger, but of their own determination to live in darkness. Let us remember that with God’s help, the choice is ours to make.

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