“He who sent me is true. He who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone.” v. 26; 29
I wish I didn’t, but I relate with the Jews here. They seem confused, willful or otherwise; they don’t understand what Jesus is talking about. However, they do something that we are often loathe to do – they ask questions. They go straight to the heart of their confusion and ask Jesus, “Who are you?”
How often are we afraid to ask a question for fear of what the answer will be? Oftentimes, we choose to act instead of sitting in the awkward silence between a question and an answer. We avoid questions, but in not asking, we miss out on learning essential truths. After Jesus answered the crowd’s questions we see that many believed in him. That belief would lead to another comment they could not fully understand.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” v. 32
When N.T. Wright reflects on this passage in John for Everyone, he writes, “Freedom was part of what the gospel had promised. It wasn’t just a promise for freedom from this world, for a new life after death. It was a promise about freedom in the here and now.”
To be free we must know truth, so what is truth?
The obvious and simple answer is: Jesus. But often we can lose focus and become fixated on our sin instead of the image of our Savior; the image of us. Growing up, I spent countless hours listening to teachings in church that repeatedly reminded me that I’m a sinner but since God loves me, I’m saved. The end. What was missing was a conversation on how to live in the here and now, in light of the fallout from Genesis 3.
We go back to the beginning, where God breathed life into two beings made in his image, his likeness, one from dust and one from bone. He blessed them, he cared for them, he loved them, and he would never leave them. They were created to be free of the fear of death, in the likeness of the triune God. As image bearers of God we are called into alignment with him, “to share his heart, imitate his ways, love what he loved, and join him in his work” (Carolyn Custis James, Lost Women of the Bible). How can we do all of that if our everyday reality is bogged down by the weight of death?
When Eve and Adam ate of the fruit, their mistake wasn’t in asking questions. Their grave mistake was trying to be like God without him. Despite this, he loved them, and us, enough to promise a solution to their sin. In the midst of utter despair he promises, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). From the beginning, he promises freedom and restoration. That from Eve, the mother of all living, through Mary, would come one of dust and bone. One strong enough to overcome the weight of death, to hear and answer our questions of who he is, and in that truth send us out, as image bearers of Himself, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Whitney Porter lives in Eckington, just bought a house in Brookland, and is the co-Verger at the Brookland Parish. She is best known for her charcuterie boards, fancy cocktails, fixation with Hallmark movies, love of the Eucharist, discussions on women of the Bible, and endless conversations on life as an enneagram six.