Saturday, May 29, 2010

Time and Sacrifice in the Gospel of St. John (Part2)

Then, in the upper room, he tells his disciples, that he must leave them. He knows who will betray him and who will deny him. Jesus tells Judas that he will be Christ’s betrayer, and he tells Peter that he will disown his Master. Evidently, the time is near because Jesus tells Judas to go ahead and do what he has to do. There is no aggression in Jesus’ voice. Judas thinks that he has everything under control, but John will remind us soon that this is not at all the case. At the right time, as predicted by Jesus, before the rooster crows, Peter does in fact deny Jesus three times.

Finally, Jesus prays, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” (17:1b). The time finally has come. Before, when people tried to trap and kill him, he escaped from their grasp. Now, though he knows that Judas will betray him, he does not resist. When he is arrested, he does not try to escape, but submits. Judas thinks that he has shortened Jesus’ life, but in fact, he has not decided this, but the Master. It is the Son who has decided when he will die, not Judas.

Before he breathes his last, Jesus proclaims, “It is finished” (19:30b). Jesus was in complete control of time as he has been from the very beginning of the world. Peter reminds us that “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8b). God’s time is not our time. Although Jesus came into the world, he was not of the world in that he did not see the world the way we do. He urged others to see the world the way he did, and many did. Many became Christians on Pentecost which we celebrate today.

After Jesus’ death, while still on the cross, “one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water” (John 19:34). This reminds one of the wedding at Cana when Jesus transfigured water into wine. Now, this wine (his blood) flows out of his body with water. The communion imagery is not imagery anymore but reality. Christ has died and he has sacrificed himself for the sins of the world.

John brilliantly notices the connections between God and time. Jesus' coming, ultimately, was to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to die for humanity, and no one could dictate for him when he would do these things. 

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