Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
Full passage: John 5.19-29, NIV-UK
Reading the bit before this passage makes it clear that Jesus was answering Jewish leaders, who had criticized Him for curing a lame man on the Sabbath, and for implying equality with God. This helped me to understand why the whole nature of the passage changes so quickly. It seems as though Jesus was trying to be very controlled at first, but got carried away with passion and reached a crescendo of fire and brimstone at the end, which makes Him seem really human.
There are two key elements for me. One is the phrase ‘honour the Son just as they honour the Father’. I take this to mean that I should always remember Jesus, and make Him the central part of each day. I always try to do that, but it is easy to get distracted. I think it is all about getting into good habits and they can take a long time to form. Do you have a way of reminding yourself to remember Jesus?
The second is a prophesy in which I take comfort. Verse 24 tells me that if I hear Jesus’ word and believe in God I will have eternal life and ‘not be judged’. However, whilst it is clear what will happen to those ‘who have done what is evil’, I remain confused about basically good people who do not hear Jesus’ message or believe in God. These include many of my friends and some of my family. Am I to believe that they will be left in limbo at the final judgment, or will they be condemned with the sinners? If so, what should I do?
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Reflection by: Cathy Butcher
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