Thursday, March 31, 2011

And so the story goes ...

Again he said to them, "I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come."

Then the Jews said, "Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, 'Where I am going, you cannot come'?"

He said to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he."

They said to him, "Who are you?"

Jesus said to them, "Why do I speak to you at all? I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him."

They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him."

As he was saying these things, many believed in him. Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

- John 8:21-32

It sounds to me like Jesus is saying, “As hard as I’ve tried, I can tell you’re just not going to get it.” He sounds desperate, resigned, and exasperated. He tells them, “You will die in your sin.” What does that mean? Is it as hopeless as it sounds?

The longer we live, the more likely we are to encounter people who seem to have no hope at all. Here’s a song that sketches just such a person: a young woman who is angry, hurt, and broken. “And so the story goes/ That’s the way she chose to live her life.” We are told, “Her salvation came too late/ And on that day she died/ And no one even cried.” The song is “Veil of Deception,” by the Filipino-American metal band Death Angel.

But the road to resurrection leads through total hopelessness. I thank Jesus for going ahead of us into the hopelessness of death and returning to show us it is actually the way to eternal life. All those who have gone before us, no matter the circumstances of their lives, are held in God’s loving embrace. They have access to infinite wisdom: the truth has set them free.

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