Grace to you!
Is Jesus a prophet? A magician? A moral teacher? A good man? A founder of a religion like Mohamed? A mystic who speaks in a strange language? Or is he truly God? These are questions answered in a few verses of the Gospel of John 5.
I observed something unique about the Gospel of John 5:17-30. It has to do with the many times the Lord Jesus was quoted as saying, “Truly, Truly I say to you.” Some translations use "verily, verily or very truly." Whenever you read the bible and hear those words, know the writer of the Gospel is emphasizing an aspect of the Lord's revelation of himself that must be taken seriously. It is not simply a metaphor. Hold on to those words; they’re central to the message of salvation.
Observe another very crucial point: In this particular text, the Lord was quoted as using “truly, truly, I say to you” three times (see vs. 19, 24 and 25). This, too, is symbolic in Jesus’ culture and in religious language.
For the Jews of the time of Jesus, when a statement is made three times, it means it is finally established and will not be repeated—meaning: the “absolute” character of the truth of that statement must be taken as it is. It’s a play on the psychology of the Jewish mind. The first time is a word from the head. The second time is a word going into the heart. The third time is a word down to the loin or the stomach, a word swallowed and established, settled. That word becomes, if you will, part of the physiognomy of the person, firmly established as food in the stomach.
The Gospel of John was drawing from this cultural heritage in writing about Jesus' testimony about his relationship with God the Father: First as the perfect agreement between his will and the will of the Father (vs. 19). Second, regarding salvation as life in him (Jesus Christ) as the one who is sent by the Father (v. 24) for our salvation and third, as the resurrection and life for those who die and are graced to hear his voice as the Son, coming from the Father (vs. 25).
This Trinitarian revelation of the will, the plan of Salvation and the gift of Resurrection and life in Christ are unbelievably awesome! In Christ we have and find the perfect will of the Father, the divine plan of salvation and the gift of resurrection and life.
So you want life? Do you want to rise to eternal joy? Do you want to be saved? All these you find in Jesus Christ who isn’t simply a prophet or a founder of a religion. He is definitely not a magician, a moral teacher or a good man. He is the Christ, God, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Praying that this day of Lent, we find abundant life in Christ.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday, Lent, Week 4; Is 49:8-15; Jn 5:17-30]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.