Lectio Divina: John 12:44-50
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
through Your Son Jesus Christ
You assure us that He came
not to condemn us but to bring us life,
a life worth living,
a life that is rich and refreshing us and our world
with love and a spirit of service.
Let Jesus stay with us
as the light in which we see
all that is good and worth living for
and let us share in His life that has no end.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 12:44-50
Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
• Today’s Gospel presents to us the last part of the Book of Signs (from 1 to 12), in which the Evangelist draws up a balance. Many believed in Jesus and had the courage to manifest their faith publicly, but they were afraid to be expelled from the Synagogue and many did not believe: “Though they had been present when He gave so many signs, they did not believe in Him; this was to fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Lord, who has given credence to what they have heard from us? And who has seen in it a revelation of the Lord’s arm?” (Jn 12:37-38). After this confirmation, John looks back on some of the central themes of his Gospel:
• John 12:44-45: To believe in Jesus is to believe in Him who sent Him. This sentence is a summary of the Gospel of John. It is the theme that appears and reappears in many ways. Jesus is so united to the Father that He does not speak in His own name, but always in the name of the Father. He who sees Jesus, sees the Father. If you want to know God, look at Jesus. God is Jesus!
• John 12:46: Jesus is the light who comes into the world. Here John comes back to what he had already said in the prologue: “The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone (Jn 1:9). “The light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it” (Jn 1:5). Here he repeats: “I have come into the world as light, to prevent anyone who believes in Me from staying in the dark any more”. Jesus is a living response to the great questions which move and inspire the search of the human being. It is a light which enlightens the horizon. It makes one discover the luminous side of the darkness of faith.
• John 12:47-48: I have not come to condemn the world. Getting to the end of a stage, a question arises: “How will judgment be? In these two verses the Evangelist clarifies the theme of judgment. The judgment is not done according to threats, with maledictions. Jesus says, “If anyone hears My words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall judge such a person, since I have come not to judge the world, but to save the world. Anyone who rejects Me and refuses My words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. The judgment consists in the way in which the person defines himself through his choices and actions in relation to Him.
• John 12:49-50: The Father commanded Me what to say. The last words of the Book of Signs are a summery of everything that Jesus says and does up until now. He reaffirms what He affirmed from the beginning: “For I have not spoken of My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and what to speak, and I know that His commands mean eternal life. And, therefore, what the Father has told Me is what I speak.” Jesus is the faithful reflection of the Father. For this reason, He does not offer proofs or arguments to those who provoke Him to legitimize His credentials. It is the Father who legitimizes Him through the works that He does, and in referring to works, He does not refer to great miracles, but to all that He says and does, even the most minute thing. Jesus Himself is the sign of the Father. He is the walking miracle, the total transparency. He does not belong to Himself, but is entirely the property of the Father. The credentials of an ambassador do not come from Him, but from the One He represents. They come from the Father.
4) Personal questions
• John draws up an account of the revealing activity of God. If I made an account of my life, what would reveal the activity of God in me?
• Is there something in me which condemns me?
5) Concluding Prayer
Let the nations rejoice and sing for joy,
for You judge the world with justice,
You judge the peoples with fairness,
You guide the nations on earth.
Let the nations praise You, God,
let all the nations praise You. (Ps 67:4-5)