The Gospel According to John – 2017.05.21
Getting it Wrong
It is often the case that the writers of John’s Gospel express these confusing and misleading sentiments.
The world did not hate Jesus, though it is true that some people did. Their hatred arose from fear, and it led to anger, which resulted in Jesus’ death.
This was not a cosmic event, it was a political murder, and it did not achieve its objective, beyond the killing of Jesus.
It was an ordinary execution.
The writers of John fail to understand two key principles in Jesus’ teaching; the power of conversion, and the ease with which people fall away, even the closest initiate.
Those who persecute the faith one day may become the most ardent supporters the next, like Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle, Saint Paul.
Those who were closest to the tradition, can turn against it, like Judas, who sold Jesus into captivity.
The faithful can turn against their community, and then turn back toward it again, as was the case with Simon, who became Saint Peter, whom Jesus called Satan, and yet still invited to his table, who denied Jesus on the night of his arrest, and then became the rock on which the church was built, who died a martyr in Rome.
What joy and what travail we may experience in life because we are Christians, these things have less to do with Jesus, than they have to do with the day to day struggles that all people experience here on earth, the struggle for food, and shelter, for clean water, for life, and dignity and human rights.
We do the tradition a disservice if we make those struggles into something cosmic and fantastic, instead of seeing them for the ordinary pleasures and tribulations of life.
They Do Not Know
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice withdrew you from the world, therefore the world hates you.
Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.
But it will be on my account that they will do all this, because they do not know the one who sent me.’
6th Sunday of Easter