Daily Reflection – 3/30/2023
Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you, a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area. (John 8:51-59)
What aroused such deadly anger from some people towards Jesus were the claims he was making for himself. One at the beginning and the other at the end of the reading — ‘whoever keeps my word will never see death’, and ‘before Abraham ever was, I am’.
Jesus was claiming to pre-exist Abraham and declaring that whoever believed in him would exist beyond this earthly life.
According to John’s gospel, Jesus pre-existed the universe. ‘In the beginning was the Word’. He came from another world, the world above, into this world. The Word became flesh. He offered the life of this other world, eternal life, to all who believed in him, to all who opened their lives to his coming. His journey from this world back to his heavenly Father was a journey that all who believe in him would also travel.
The incredible promise for us is that the journey will never end. We live beyond the death of our mortal life. That promise should sustain us, should strengthen us, should be the anchor of or faith. It calls us to walk the path with Him, so we live forever with Him.
Any person calling himself/herself “Christian” understands that from our earliest years, we begin a journey with Christ. Each moment that we breathe is a moment when we choose to walk with Christ or walk away from Christ.
The difficulties of our present life and the evil around the world can cause us to wonder if God has forgotten us. But the fact is that God does not withdraw his covenant. Just as he remained faithful to Abraham and Sarah and just as he remained faithful to the Israelites despite the many times they turned from him, so too will he remain faithful to us.
On the cross, Jesus forged a new covenant with us; he has promised to save us from sin and death and to be with us always. These are solid promises that we can rely on, no matter what else is going on in our lives.
God’s covenant is forever. It was his initiative, and he has pledged to uphold it. God gives us the gift of faith and understanding to grow in our knowledge of him.
Jesus also claims unique obedience to God the Father. He thinks, lives and acts in the knowledge of his Father’s word. To look at his life is to “see how God wishes me to live.” In Jesus alone we see what God wants us to know and what he wants us to be.
That is truly a constant that brings us hope. That is truly a constant to which we can hold when all else seems to be changing. Never give up, never walk away, never doubt His presence with you. He loves us as His creation. He beckons us to walk the journey with Him. He will sustain us and love us eternally.
Prayer of The Day
“Loving God, even though I cannot see you; I trust and believe that you are always present to me. Give me the strength and the courage to always be present to you. Amen.”
Take these last days of Lent to really examine how God has been working in your life. Today, take a few minutes to remember a moment of consolation, a moment where you really felt the presence of God in your life, and sit with that moment embracing the closeness of our God even in the midst of great mystery.