Thursday of the Second Week of Easter


The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.


Jesus addresses the bottom line spiritual question for everyone: Is God trustworthy?
I once complained to a fellow pastor, "I don't know who to trust!" He replied, "Don't trust anyone!" It's hard not to take that advice, and yet that's really not an answer.
How do you find trustworthy people? What assurances can they offer?
How do you persuade someone that you are trustworthy?  What assurances do you offer? Can a pledge or oath satisfy them?
The question relates to that other question we have pondered on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week: How does one deal with betrayal? I meet in the VA hospital men and women who tell me, "I was married for x-number of years and she/he left me!" They tell me they got over it. Because I am neither married nor divorced, I cannot imagine how one gets over that. It must be devastating. How do you learn to trust someone else?
As the son of devoted parents I cannot imagine how children -- young, teen-aged or adult -- recover from the divorce of their parents. Parents to young children are "Reality." What do they do when Reality disintegrates?
The one who comes from heaven testifies to what he has seen and heard. Everything we know of God depends upon the reliability of Jesus. Can we trust this man?
Saint John will tell us, So there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord. The water of Baptism and the Blood of the Eucharist represent our "sacraments", the rites of our fellowship. The Spirit is the energy, commitment and courage that holds the fellowship together. We would have no memory of Jesus whatever; he would be long forgotten except for the three that testify.

In other words, if I believe in Jesus it's because I accepted the testimony of inspired Christians. In many cases I know their failings. None of those who taught me my faith -- parents, teachers, priests, friars or friends -- was especially holy; all had their character defects. I had no illusions about that but I accepted their testimony about Jesus. I believe that was the work of the Holy Spirit who validated what they told me.

But there remains the question, "Can we believe this man who "comes from heaven... (and) testifies to what he has seen and heard?" I speak for myself. I believe Jesus was no fool. I have heard the testimony and I believe that even as he was crucified he believed His Father had not, and would not, abandon him. Even in dying his God sustained him; and he was sustained by his faith in God. What he expected does not matter; what he believed does. He believed in God even at the hour of death, even death on a cross.

The testimony of Jesus -- that God is trustworthy -- must be the foundation of every relationship. Without him marriages and families founder; churches, businesses, societies collapse and nations go to war again. He is the rock on which every house must be built.

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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.