Faith Daily | 23 March 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Lent Five
We thank you heavenly Father,
that you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
we pray that
as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us
to joys eternal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives ad reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen APBA p490
GOSPEL for the Day: John 8: 21-30
21 Again he said to them, ‘I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 22Then the Jews said, ‘Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ 23He said to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.’ 25They said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Why do I speak to you at all?* 26I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.’ 27They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. 28So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he,* and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. 29And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.’ 30As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Jonathan
This is a passage which may require a couple of readings, because there are some striking words and ideas in it (such as listeners thinking Jesus was planning suicide) which may prove distracting. Jesus is speaking to “the Jews”, as John frequently puts it, and as is also typical of John’s Gospel, there is a lot of talking and not much action – but that’s because the things being said are very significant. From time to time, there are misunderstandings from listeners, which John is quick to have Jesus correct.
Jesus is actually giving his listeners a clear choice. There are times in life when a decision has to be made, and Jesus is putting the options quite plainly: do you choose to believe in me and gain everything, he says, or do you choose not to believe and thereby exclude yourself from the Father and everything which follows?
When people ask him, ‘Who are you?’, good translations of this passage should make it easy for us to detect Jesus referring to himself in response as “I AM”, echoing the divine name in use as far back as Exodus. Jesus is trying to make it clearer and clearer to all that he and the Father are one: not only has the Father sent him to us, as the incarnate Word of God, but the Father continues to be with him; they are eternally bound together as Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
The choice Jesus presents to everyone who hears the Gospel is clear: it is a delight that so many of us have been able to respond in the same way as those described at the end of today’s passage: “as he was saying these things, many believed in him.”
FINAL PRAYER: John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
O Lord, support us all the day long
of this troublous life,
until the shades lengthen
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in thy mercy,
grant us safe lodging,
a holy rest,
and peace at the last;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.