John 14, 18-24
Something to read
'I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.
On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.'
Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, 'Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?'
Jesus answered him, 'Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.'
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
Biblical passages that refer to the ‘world’s’ inability to recognise Jesus are difficult, especially when they seem to imply that God wants some people to be kept in the dark.
But often we focus on that controversial theme instead of reading the actual texts.
The emphasis here is on those who are loved. The ‘world’ is mentioned in passing but the audience being addressed and challenged is made up exclusively of those who know Jesus. Judas’ question is about the difference between him and the ‘world’ (to whom revelation will not come). Jesus’ ignores that difference. His answer applies to Judas and Judas alone.
The point is that he will be able to see, love, dwell with and obey Jesus. Not that anybody else won’t.
Our task is to ask ourselves whether we are demonstrating the love and understanding given us. Constantly fretting about the status of someone else is just a diversion tactic.
Something to do
Do you tend to compare your own understanding of God with that of others? Do you wish people would think as you do - and feel suspicious or condescending when this isn’t the case?
In the centre of a piece of paper write the name of somebody who has made you angry or whom you have criticised because their outlook on Christianity is very different from yours.
Now, before the name write “I don’t understand….” and after it write “but God does, just as s/he understands me”. Put the paper somewhere you will see it, whenever that person you have named winds you up or tempts you to a patronising attitude.
Something to pray
Thank you, Father, that we are not responsible for anybody else’s relationship with you.
Thank you that all that is required of us is to trust that you love us and have made your home with us. Help us to be humble about the mystery of this, to confess the questions we have (along with all their implicit prejudice) and to be tolerant of others’ attitudes and questions.
Today’s contributor is Anna Potts, formerly Christian Aid’s Regional Co-ordinator for Wiltshire