John 12:44-50

John 12:44-50     Jesus Summarises his Mission

44 Jesus shouted out and said,

A few verses earlier, the text had stated of Jesus: he went off and hid from them [verse 36]. After noting that, the author had given his readers his personal understanding of why Jesus had not been accepted. He chose, however, to give the last words to Jesus. They would be words addressed to no one in particular, and reflecting no particular context. Effectively, they summed up, in Jesus’ words, what the Beloved Disciple understood to be the essence of Jesus’ teaching. Their intended audience was the members of the Disciple’s own community of believers. That the message be heard was imperative – Jesus shouted out.

Those who believe in me
do not believe in me
but in the one who sent me, 
45 and those who see me
see the one who sent me.

Time and again, the narrative had spoken of Jesus as the one sent by the Father. His mission was to reveal that Father to the world. Jesus was the Word of God, the revelation of the mysterious God, in flesh – the only reliable way by which God could be truly known. To see Jesus was the see the Father; to believe in Jesus was to believe in the Father.

46 I the light have come into the world
in order that those who believe in me do not remain in the dark.

As revelation of God, of the inner mystery of God, Jesus enabled people to see in his human love the divine love of God. He was like a light, illuminating not only the impenetrable recesses of the mystery of God, but also putting in context, by way of profound contrast, the destructive, competitive and violent self-interest of the unredeemed world, which the author described as the dark: the destructive energies of those who love their lives [verse 25].

47 Those who hear my words and do not cherish them,
I do not judge them,
because I did not come to pass judgement on the world
but to save the world.

The Jesus who loves does not pass judgment, even on those who reject him. The reason why he was sent by the Father was to save the world [verse 47;3:17]. Jesus loved the world that his Father longed to save. 

48 Those who disdain my words
and do not receive them
have their judge.
The message I have spoken,
it is that that will determine judgment on the last day.
49 Because I have not spoken on my own initiative,
but the Father who sent me has directed what I am to say,
what I am to speak.

However, salvation is a two-way process: it is the experience of mutual love and of profound oneness. Only as people allow God to love them; only as they allow that divine love to empower them; only as, once empowered, they reach back and beyond themselves in love to God, to themselves and to others, do they experience that mutual love and profound oneness, which is the reality of salvation.

50 And I know that  his directive is eternal life.
So what I say, I say just as the Father has said to me.

Jesus lived and spoke love because he had read the Father’s heart, and had made his own the longings and desires of his Father for the world. Those longings of the Father’s heart had become for him an inner necessity. For him, they were directive – not imposed, as it were, from without, but deriving their obligation from within his own heart. That directive, that non-negotiable duty driving his every word and action, was that human persons be helped to find eternal life.

Next >> John 13:1-20