Scripture: John 5:25-30
“Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
Because I was away on vacation last week, I feels like it’s been a long while since my last post. Just for a refresher, remember that we are right in the middle of a thirty verse monologue by Jesus that’s going to take a few posts to work all the way through. Last time, we looked at the first section of this speech in which Jesus reflected on where his power and authority originates. According to Jesus, it is none other than God the Father who commissions him, the Son, to pass judgement and grant eternal life. And while that might sound scary at first, it is actually a comfort because, though we don’t deserve it, Christ has found us worthy of his love and grace.
In our passage, today, Jesus takes this theme of his judgment and begins to add a component of time to it. Jesus is letting us all know that the authority over heaven and earth that the Father has granted him won’t remain forever idle. He uses phrases like “the hour is coming” and “is now hear” to announce that he intends to use this authority now and in the future. This language kind of gives the whole section a feeling of gloom and doom in my opinion. The whole idea of people coming out from their graves makes me think about zombies and an apocalypse. Of course I could also be getting that sense because of all the talk about the Walking Dead season five premiere. Either way, though, these verses just come off as eerie.
I don’t think Jesus is trying to invent the zombie horror genre, here, though. I think he’s foreshadowing his own death and resurrection. And I also think he’s inviting us to hope that we, too, will be able to experience the power of resurrection through him. Let me just confess that I don’t like conjecturing about those who Jesus describes as finding “the resurrection of life” or “the resurrection of condemnation.” As we’ve read, the authority to decide that is Christ’s alone. So, I like to work under the fact that I brought out in the last post – that the Christ who sits in judgement over me is the same one who has already given me life at the cost of his death. When we live under this reality – that is the reality that all of our lives are gifts from God – then I think it frees us to think more about the here and now rather than our eternal fates. I think we as Christians can sometimes get too caught up in the debate of “who’s in” and “who’s out,” especially when we read verses like these. However, what I think Jesus wants us to realize is that the hour of resurrection “is now here.” That means we can witness and help bring about the power of resurrection in somebody’s life today.
God, my savior, help me find comfort in your saving arms so that I can be free to live a life emboldened by the power of resurrection this day and every day. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
Jesus is the God of the living. So, live life fully in him.