May our words be few and full.
Edifying and simple.
Truthful and wise.
We don’t have to say a lot, but just listen well, ask good questions, and say what the Spirit moves us to say. When I actually do this, I find it is not many words that need to be uttered, but a small amount, left to sink in and be absorbed by the listener, who I pray has a heart of “good soil”, ready to hear the Word of God and act on it.
And nobody has gone up into heaven except the One who came down from heaven, the Son of Man.
Nobody can receive anything unless heaven first gives it….The One who comes from above is over everything. The one who is from the earth has an earthly character, and has “earth” written all over it. The One who comes from heaven is above all….The One who God sent, you see, speaks God’s words, because He gives the Spirit lavishly. [KNT]
Jesus is from heaven, not from earth. He was sent here by YHWH. Therefore, everything He says is true and is how things really are.
Think about it for two seconds, if He is who He said He was while in bodily form on earth, then that means everything He said is truth. Not just true, but truth itself to which all other purported truths must be compared.
Whether we like it or not doesn’t matter.
Whether it fits our preconceived notions or paradigms doesn’t matter.
It just is.
We only see reality by the light of God. We do not see by trying to fit God in to what we already think is true. He is the light that shows genuine reality.
As Anselm said centuries ago, “For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.”
All we can really do is bow before Him and say, “Thou knowest.”
And this makes our joy complete, just as it did John the Baptist’s, as we see in this passage. For surrendering to Jesus, is surrendering to God, which is surrendering to what is true, which is surrendering to love–a love we cannot find on earth. It’s the most liberating white flag you will ever raise.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. [TNIV]
Two things I see from this very intense verse of Scripture that stand out to me.
First, the word “has” as opposed to “will have.” It’s not saying that whoever believes in Jesus will merely get to go to heaven when they die. It says that as soon as they believe, they have the eternal kind of life, the life of the coming age. Jesus Himself defined eternal life as knowing God and the One He sent, Jesus Christ (Jn.17:3). It starts now, in this age, to have the life of the coming age. Your values change. What excites you changes. I like how one author put it, that things such as racism will have no place in the coming age. In fact, it will make no sense whatsoever. Just as in this age, in our American “militant consumerism”, things of the kingdom make no sense–like the story I heard of Francis Chan, who gives all or most of his plentiful book sales money away, living in a modest house, when He could be basking in a seven figure income from what I understand. Why doesn’t he? Because he has the life of the coming age. He has embedded in him what is of eternal significance. But in this present age that makes no sense.
The second thing that jumps out to me in this verse is that those who reject Jesus as the answer do not see life. And this is my experience of observation all around me, that people who do not believe do not see. They “don’t know what they don’t know” as we say. They cannot even see a better way of living, an alternative narrative to this dominant, life-sucking one we are given by the world. Consequently, our task is urgent and so very needed, to show by living, the way of Jesus. The easy yoke and light burden of the alternative narrative He offers. Those who don’t see are lost. And ignorance is not always bliss. I don’t see joy in the ones who do not see Life abundant. Do you? Honestly? Do you see peace and contentment? We must model it. And proclaim it–no pressure on us–but trusting in the Spirit Who works in the heart. We just do our little portion, capable only of excrement on our own, but of great greatness thru Jesus Christ.
This verse, quite frankly, is a little tough for me, as I don’t love the word “wrath.” But it’s there. And I bow to Jesus, not the world. I will leave us with the words of Andreas Kostenberger, theologian, who has written much on the writings of John:
Coupled with the emphatic presentation of Jesus as sharing the identity of Yahweh, the one and only true God, the compelling message of John’s gospel is that there is no other god besides the one who is “the way and the truth and the life,” the one who unequivocally stated that “no one comes to the father except through me” (14:6). John’s gospel thus follows Isaiah’s teaching that because there is only one God, there can be only one Savior (Is.43:11,45:21). Anyone, therefore, who has not believed in Jesus the Christ and Son of God must urgently be implored to place his or her faith in Jesus, for there is no other way of salvation, and God’s wrath continues to rest on those who refuse to believe (John 3:36) and prefer their own moral darkness over the “light [that] has come into the world” (3:19-21). John (the Baptist’s) witness still rings true today: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (3:36; cf. 3:26-30; 1:15).