Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

The Woodpecker Cafe
Lectionary: 297
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

This passage is heard in the sixteenth chapter of Saint John, as Jesus and his disciples finish their Last Supper, and as Judas meets with the temple police. The Lord predicts his followers will "scatter each to his own home." 

We have heard a similar statement at the end of chapter seven, as Nicodemus and the Sanhedrin argued what to do about Jesus. When they decided he cannot be a prophet because he comes from Galilee, "each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives."

As the supper ends Jesus will again go to the Mount of Olives to meet his enemies, while the disciples scatter.

"But I am not alone" he assures them and us. Unlike the Gospel of Mark, John's gospel emphasizes the Lord's confident obedience to the Father. He is never alone. In fact, as both sacrificial lamb and priest, he presides over his immolation: 
  • When the crowd comes to arrest him they will not be able to lay a hand on him until he gives his consent. In fact they will stumble and fall to the ground when he identifies himself in the darkness, "I am he!" 
  • Pilate will also be unmanned by Jesus' authority as Jesus assures him, "You would have no authority at all were it not given you from above." 
  • Even as he hangs upon the cross he presides over the founding of the new church, consisting of his beloved disciple and his mother. And then he hands over his spirit. 
  • In the Gospel of Saint John, Jesus does not suffer an agony in the garden. There is only one verse in the Gospel, in which we hear a note of hesitation, but it's instantly resolved: 

Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. (John 12:27) 

So we have this striking contrast between the disciples and Jesus. They are uncomprehending and scattering; he is fully aware of who he is and what he is doing, and entirely "re-collected" in himself. 

And even when we realize how right he was about us, that we would indeed flee from his martyrdom, he assures us, 

I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble,but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
The disciples in the Gospel of John are first of all witnesses. They attest to his supreme victory over death and to their own sinful cowardice. They see clearly that their worse failure could not deter God's carefully orchestrated plan. There is no need to worry excessively about their sin, since it made no difference one way or the other. It was washed over and erased like a child's sand castle under a tsunami. 

Later, when he showers his peaceful, reassuring spirit upon us, we will do as his disciples have done, confessing our sins and celebrating his victory.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.