Daily Office Readings for Wednesday in the Week of the Third Sunday after the Epiphany: Year 2
“Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomsoever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5: 21 – 24)
This lesson from our Lord Jesus kind of says that God has “delegated” all next life invitations to our Lord Jesus. One way to receive such an invitation past judgment is to believe this.
As a priest I often officiate at funerals. The biggest message that people want to hear is the one about our being raised from the dead. Sometimes it’s hard to connect the life of the deceased to his or her life of faith. We preachers preach faith, that doesn’t mean we know the faith of others. Only God knows the faith of a person regardless of the faith path they live.
And God has left all decisions about eternal life to God Incarnate, our Lord Jesus. After closely studying the words from our John passage this morning I get the sense that believers already have eternal life. Believers may not live what some of us consider the so called perfect “Christian” life but still believe that Jesus is Lord. Having faith is not necessarily about being in church all the time. It is about one’s prayer life. Prayer is not necessarily about audible words. It is about where your heart is. It is about how much you cry. Crying is praying. God’s ears hears tears.
For those among us who have not accepted our Lord Jesus, such people come under judgment. I believe the language clearly says all people must pass again through our Lord Jesus to eternal life. Such non-believers come under judgment. The believer does not. I don’t believe a loving God lays waste a life lived in love for fellow human beings but leaves that judgment up to our Lord Jesus, who is also our loving God. God loves all people. Some do not believe because of bad teaching and preaching. Some don’t believe because they have never heard about our Lord Jesus and His loving and inclusive way. God in Christ Jesus will not let the lack of being informed separate us from eternal life. This includes infants and so-called atheists. God is love. Thank You Lord Jesus.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John