These days it seems as though nothing is solid and clear answers are illusive. The recent leak regarding the Supreme Court’s possible overturning of Roe v. Wade has thrown the country’s understanding of reproductive health and control into turmoil. What will this mean in practice? How will this affect other areas of life once considered ‘rights?’ The stock market has been riding a wild roller coaster of down…up…and wildly down again. Where is the economy heading? Are we in a recession? Nope. Nothing seems very solid right now. After the past couple years of Covid-19 which doesn’t go away, stability would be greatly appreciated for life to be manageable.
The Gospel of John has the Jews coming to Jesus with what seems a very reasonable question. Is Jesus the long awaited Messiah or isn’t he? The things Jesus was doing are the kind of miraculous actions that only God can do. If Jesus is of God then lets get about the business of creating the kingdom of God on earth (at least what we think it should be). Yet, Jesus seems to defy Scripture by healing a person on the Sabbath (at least our interpretation of Scripture). If Jesus is only a sinner then we had best move on. Come on Jesus, give a clear and solid answer. Unfortunately, Jesus didn’t give one…or did he?
Jesus had already given them the answer they sought but they wouldn’t believe. He started talking about sheep which are acutely in tune with their shepherd’s voice. Jesus has been speaking but we simply haven’t been listening. He wasn’t being evasive. Jesus didn’t fit into the categories being forced upon him then or which we continue to force upon him now. His messiah-ship wasn’t about enhancing corporate profits, investment strategies or about exerting political will over others. The problem is that our hearing is more acutely tuned to the voices that are not of God.
Jesus said that he gives eternal life. We think this means an endless number of days to live but eternal life is so much more than we can imagine. Eternal life is a quality of life, a way of life, that is found in God. Since this life is found in God, it too is endless as God is endless. Jesus gave the assurance that this kind of life won’t be taken away from us.
In these tumultuous days, clear and solid answers would be a welcome relief. The Jews tried to force an answer from Jesus but he didn’t fit either option. We may consider ourselves more sophisticated but forcing an answer from Jesus gives the same result. We have a hearing problem. We are attuned to the world’s voices but Jesus is also speaking. His invitation is to listen to what he said and to listen to the witness of the things he did. In the end, we’ll have an answer that couldn’t be more clear.