SCRIPTURE: John 3:31-36
The One Who Comes from Heaven
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. 34 He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.
Kenneth O. Gangel offers some interesting insight on verses 32 and 33 of this passage when he writes, “John expected an avalanche of faith from the nation of Israel. They had waited four hundred years for a revelation from God and many more centuries for the coming of the promised Prophet. Isaiah could not have been more clear in his predictions, and John’s own personal witness was as bold and lucid as he could make it. Almost no one responded—but the few who did affirmed God’s truth. The word truthful at the end of verse 33 demonstrates its emphatic sense by its placement in the sentence. Truth is one of John’s major themes, and all truth originates with God.”
Gangel’s point about John’s expectations really caught my attention. Here the fulfillment of a promise made so long ago is ignored by so many to whom the promise was made, it seems almost unbelievable that there is not celebration in the streets. But, in a way, I feel like we should be able to relate to the people for the simple fact that four hundred plus years is a REALLY long time. How quickly do we seem to lose hope or interest in things that are only months or weeks away?
This was FOUR HUNDRED YEARS! Think about how much either political party laments waiting four years for another chance for their candidate to win the presidential election. In a world today where we have instant access to so many things, I think that might be one of the biggest disconnects we experience as people of faith. God’s truth is the only truth that ultimately matters. But in a world that seems to be dominated by false news stories, conspiracy theories, and corruption, how do we define and understand truth?
Put yourself in the shoes (or sandals, maybe) of the Israelites and think about how you might react to the fulfillment of a promise made so long ago. With our knowledge today, it might be easy to say, “I would totally have believed in Jesus!” But without that knowledge, do you think you might have been a little skeptical?
God of truth, your love and mercy are the truths of your grace, so freely given to your creation through the sacrifice of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Help us as we wade through the alleged truths of this world, and open our eyes to see the truth of your love for us that we might more fully love you and our neighbors. Amen.