But someone else is also testifying about me and I assure you that everything he says about me is true..of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved..the Father who sent me has testified about me himself..and you do not have his message in your hearts because you do not believe me – the one he sent to you – John 5:32-38
Peter Hitchens once said that this world is fast becoming an unfit place to live. If you read the news then you would certainly start to think that might be the case. Globally, there seems turmoil at a political, social and financial level unexperienced in the world before. Terror is the new word on the streets.
At the micro level though, the situation is just as bad. School children are confused about their identity and sexuality, relationships are torn apart and substance abuse is out of control. People seem to live in genuine fear and it is a frightening scenario. We are meeting with and counselling a number of couples who are in great pain over their relationships, and this week, a young mother we knew well, at barely 50 died of a stroke leaving behind a devastated family. Everything is awry and the question being asked is, who will save us from all this?
When we go out onto the streets of Sydney, we hear and see the same things; people are uncertain, worried even fearful about their everyday lives. Even amongst the very middle class, there is growing uncertainty about our world. It is becoming every man for themselves, or else who will protect us. Is that how you feel in your own life?
The one thing that interests us though, is people’s response to God. The most devout agnostic, seems to hold out hope that some deity might come and rescue the situation, somehow – and include them with it. It seems when hope in ourselves fails, we long to hope in something else to rescue us, and God still tops the list of most likely candidates.
In this short passage in John, Jesus gives us some great insights into what God is going to do, and how he is going to respond. Simply, he is going to do it all through his son, Jesus Christ. In fact, from this moment on, he will do nothing outside of his son. All Scripture, we are told here, points to this moment in time, when Jesus the divine comes to earth as man. He reflects back a perfect relationship with his Father, and goes so far as to say he can do nothing but that which he sees his Father doing. In doing so, he shows us, the created, how God would like us to live, and how in so living, we might create a better world on this earth, imperfect though it may be.
We need to pay attention to what Jesus is saying, as it affects us all deeply. He tells us to mimic him in every way; in how we treat others (especially others who are in distress) how we relate to him, his Father and all those God puts across our path. In fact, he tells us here, that we must respond affirmatively to himself, as the chosen one of God. Only then will things straighten out.
Every week we talk to dozens of people, most of whom profess to have a relationship of some description or other, with God. Which God many of them are not sure about it, but they do say they have a belief in him. Is that enough?
Well, Jesus tells us plainly that we are to put our faith in him. As we talk with others, it becomes evident who really has a relationship with God, because of how they frame Jesus in their lives, how they do or don’t speak about him. Everyone talks or expresses an opinion about God, yet few ever know or consider his Son. But Jesus tells us – and the entire canon of Scripture backs him up, that he is the very front and centre of God’s purpose.
As I ponder the world around me, including the wars, governments, factions or sides, people’s beliefs or disbeliefs, their purpose in life on both a large and small scale, it all seems to centre around the person of Jesus Christ. He remains to this day, the one still standing at the epicenter of all things and everything is about him.
If that is the case then, there is another part to this story, and it is our response to him. If he is the centre of all things, is he the centre of your life and mine? Jesus demands a response to the question, and is backed by his Father in heaven. In all our conversations with people, this is the one question that leaves people dead in their tracks. He is God’s final response to the problems of the world, and I believe that no matter how bad it becomes, God does little or nothing until we begin to respond to his Son – on both a global and personal level.
For those of you who believe, let me also say that it is our role to issue the challenge to others, what will you do with Jesus, what is your response going to be, in whom will you put your faith? Many, many people express an opinion or belief about God, but so few put their faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. That is usually because they have never been told and our job is to break into their world with the news, however uncomfortable that maybe.
Let us today not only believe in him, but act on our beliefs and encourage others to explore the depth that is found in him alone. As he says later on, there is no other name under heaven or on earth, by which we will be saved. It seems, he can’t come soon enough.