Thursday 16 October 2014

"... HAS ETERNAL LIFE" Bible Reading Thoughts for Oct. 13th


            Our readings are now moving into the heart of the Gospel of John and we ponder deeply the profound sayings of our Lord that John was caused to remember and write down. Jesus speaks in the ‘present tense’ because, in a sense, there is no passage of time with him and his Father.  We saw this in the first chapter, Jesus “the word” that “was in the beginning with God” [1 v.2] That “word (of promise) became flesh” and now we ponder deeply on the words which John brought to his remembrance [see ch. 16 v.4] and wrote down – for us!  How much do we value them?
            The more we read and then meditate and carefully fit the pieces together, as with a very large jigsaw, the clearer the meaning of the more profound parts become in our minds.  God has created words for the world which are a lifelong study for those who truly seek him.  Jesus tells them, ”For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.” [5 v.21]  What and when is this “life” the Son gives?   Verse 24 challenges our understanding, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life”    We may at first be inclined to think he means the time of the resurrection, but the next verse tells us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live”
            Paul’s words, telling the Ephesians “you were dead in trespasses and sins” [2 v.1], aid us in slotting this piece of the jigsaw into place.  It is the spiritually dead who hear and who live – so everyone has the need to hear – and then respond!  Jesus taught this lesson to Nicodemus, we saw this in John 3 v.3-12.  A spiritual rebirth is essential, not just being “born of water” [v.5], Jesus told him.
 Today’s chapter reveals how God sees the overall picture: following genuine rebirth, names are entered in “the book of life” and as long as they remain there, then he or she “has eternal life” from God’s way of seeing the situation.  But names can be blotted out of “the book of life”(see Rev 3 v.5], as happened to Judas Iscariot.
            We read on in today’s chapter (v.25-29) and see the wondrous picture of the resurrection!, How close are we now to that time when,  “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life …”  May we all “hear his voice” – but we need to “hear” it now and, in our lives today, show that we have heard it.

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