44 Then Jesus cried aloud: ‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, 49for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. 50And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.’
The author has told his readers – the community to whom he writes, and us as well – that some have seen the signs Jesus performed and heard his words and have believed. Others have turned away, and still others, the Pharisees and other religious leaders, were actively plotting to have him killed. But Jesus’ aim, that of the Father, is that none should be lost.
And so, now, Jesus comes out of hiding, and he cries out – belief in him is not just following another popular rabbi, being a “roadie” for some rock star. Belief in Jesus is belief in the Father – who sent him. Those who see Jesus see the Father. For Jesus is the human incarnation (I know, that is redundant) of God, the divine in the flesh. He came to bring light into the world – belief in him brings us out of the darkness. He does not judge those who hear and do not believe – those persons have a judge, in the very word that he has spoken; for his words are not his own but those given him by the Father. And what the Father offers through the word is eternal life.
John does not simply tell the stories of Jesus’ life on earth; he is teaching the theology of Jesus’ life, to the people of his community, to whom he is writing. Here, he is teaching –
- Jesus was not just teaching about God.
- Jesus was God; he and the Father are one. He is sent by God as the incarnation of God’s being into a flesh and blood human being.
- Belief in Jesus, and in the word he brings from the Father brings light into our lives, where we had lived in the darkness of our own sin, grief, disheartenment, and pain.
- In the light that he brings, in his word, we have life eternal. And eternal life implies not just a rejoining Jesus in the clouds in the someday of the “Not-Yet Kingdom”, but following him in the “Now Kingdom”.
That is a lot of theology packed into a single paragraph! I should leave you to ponder it.