John 3:31-36: The One from Above
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In the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgement Day Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a cyborg who comes for the future to rescue a mother and her child from attack from another deadly cyborg. The problem is that Arnie looks exactly like a cyborg who had previously tried to kill the mother in the first Terminator movie.
When the ‘new’ Arnie meets the mother in the second film he utters the immortal line: ‘Come with me if you want to live’. Her dilemma through the film is whether she can trust the man who has uttered these lines.
Now Terminator 2 is only a movie, but I want to suggest that Jesus makes a similar claim: Come with me if you want to live. And the question of trust is the same. Why should we trust Jesus? How can we trust Jesus? Does he know what he is talking about? This is a question addressed throughout John’s Gospel, which continually calls for us as readers to put our trust in Jesus.
As we reflect on John 3:31-36 we read several reasons why we should trust Jesus. It is particularly important question in this chapter because Jesus claimed in verse 12 that he can speak of heavenly things. Why trust Jesus when he speaks about these things?
John says we can trust Jesus because of who he is and where he has come from. In verse 31 we read that he is the one who comes for heaven, the one who comes from above. Jesus can say the things he says because he has seen and heard these things “from above”. It is because of this Jesus could say in John 3:10: “we speak what we know, and we testify to what we have seen.” Further verse 34 says he has been sent from above, sent by God and is able to speak God’s words because he has God’s Spirit in unlimited measure.
Finally, he says that he is loved by the Father and because of this the Father has given all things into his hands. Now the rest of John’s Gospel will flesh this out further and we will see that this story leads to many other words and deeds and eventually to the cross and the death and resurrection of the Son. All of this gives us plenty of reasons to trust. But all this is grounded in the fact that Jesus is the man from above.
The final reason to listen to Jesus is the consequences of either listening or not. John tells us that the one who believes in the Son has eternal life: this is good news. But he also tells us that the one who disobeys the Son, who will not trust in him, will not see life but the wrath of God remains on them. This sombre news.
Lots of people in our world tell us to come to them if we want to live. We need to come to Jesus if we want to live and we need to remain with Jesus if we want to live. We need to point people to Jesus if we want them to live.
We do all this in the confidence that Jesus is the man from heaven, who speaks of what he has seen and heard, who is full of the Spirit, and who has been given all things into his hands. Jesus can be trusted with our lives in the age to come and in our lives now. Let’s continue to listen to his voice in the Scriptures and continue coming to him and living.
Our Father, you know our trust is weak and our hearts are prone to wander. Help us fix our eyes on Jesus, to know him as our trustworthy saviour and guide, and listen to his voice alone for life in this age and the age to come. We pray this in his name. Amen.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
The Anglican Church in Nepal is growing very fast. The National Theological College is small and providing vital training to students coming from remote parts of the country. Pray for the safety of this learning community; for joy in studying the Scriptures; for the effective ministry of the graduates.
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