March 18 – Obedience of the Son
Jesus answered them, “My Father is working still, and I am working.” This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
“I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
Today we learn more about the relationship between the Father and His Son. Jesus is defending Himself from healing a sick man on the Sabbath (and causing him to work), and He needs to continue to spread the truth that He was doing the work that the Lord had sent Him to do. Jesus makes three statements which begin with “truly, truly”, so let us focus on the meaning of each statement Jesus wants us to pay attention to.
Being one hundred percent man, Jesus had the free will to choose to do His own will. Being one hundred percent God, Jesus can only do what is in the will of the Father. Jesus chooses, with His free will, to do the will of the Father, and while doing His work on earth, God shows His Son what He would like Him to do. Jesus was given the power of the Kingdom and could have obtained a kingdom on earth, as tempted by the devil for his third temptation. Jesus chooses to instead to follow the will of the Father and receives the Kingdom because of His obedience to the Lord. This relationship places Jesus in total dependence upon the Father’s authority. Even though all was fulfilled through the Son, the glory goes back to the Father. This is in total contradiction of our human nature, where we seek our own will and credit for the things we accomplish. We must change our focus so that we are doing not our own will, but the will of the Lord and that we in return for our successes. We give all the glory back to Him who gave us the power to accomplish it.
The second “truly, truly” statement refers to the action we must take so that we receive eternal life. Jesus knew that He was moving closer to the cross, and that those who were listening were the same ones who were plotting to kill him. Those plotting had the opportunity to hear His word, and instead, they rejected Him and received their judgment. We, too, have the opportunity to hear the Word of God through the daily readings and at Mass. Besides just hearing the word, we must also believe in the Word and the One who sent Him. We all have been condemned to death and judgment by our sin, but through the Word and belief in God, we can gain eternal life.
The third “truly, truly” statement outlines what is to come. Jesus will go to those who had died prior to his Crucifixion and preach the Gospel to them. They will then be given the choice to be raised into the Kingdom of God or to remain where they are. Also, after Jesus died on the cross, it is written in Matthew 27:52-53, “The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” We, too, either in our lifetime or after our death, will see a second resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns in His final judgement of the earth. In 1st Corinthians 15:52, it is written, “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised.” This will happen because it is written in the Bible, and we can choose now, through our actions of good or evil, whether we will be enjoying our eternal life in joyful communion with God or not.
Lent in Action:
Choose to do good today and avoid evil at all costs.
My Lord Jesus, Thank you for obeying the will of your Father perfectly, and fulfilling all of the covenant promises. Help me, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to control my free will so that I can also do the will of the Father. I look forward to the day that you return so that I will be resurrected, body and soul, to my eternal life forever with you. I ask this in your holy name. Amen.