An Advent Journey: Stop, Look, Listen – Day 18

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true. 

You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish — the very works that I am doing — testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you possess eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed in Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” — John 5:30-47

I love that this passage is in the lectionary rotation for Advent. As we anticipate welcoming that small king on our feast day next Tuesday, here is a fascinating monologue from the lips of  that very babe, all grown up and speaking truth to power. 

There is a time and a place to do this, isn’t there? To look directly at someone who is not ‘getting it’ and to speak truth back to them. Jesus was not shy; he was not meek in this setting. He identifies the core of the problem — worshipping the gift rather than the giver, the written word rather than the Living Word — and he speaks strongly into it. 

This is about as direct as Jesus ever got while walking the dusty roads of 1st century Palestine. “You’re looking in the wrong places, with the wrong eyes. If you had eyes to truly see, you would see THROUGH the words directly to me. Because that’s who I am.” 

Strong words, strong voice, strong truth.

May my only desire be to glory in you, my God. To thankfully embrace the Infant King as my King, to recognize him in the words of scripture and in the world around me, and to bow low before him, before you, before the Spirit, One in Three. Amen!

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