Lectio: John 3: 22-36. “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all…. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
This is an uncompromising message. John is an earthly messenger, hence fallible, fallen and just a messenger. Jesus is fully representative of God the Father — not just a messenger, but the incarnate representation of God. To reject Jesus is to reject God. This “given all things into his hand” indicates more than infallibility — it points to Jesus having the full power and responsibility of God. The metaphor of Father and Son/scion is apt.
This is a mystical understanding of power. Just as God does not walk into a room and exercise direct physical power, neither does Jesus. So what am I supposed to do/think/feel and what is at stake? What is meant by “believe on the Son”? What do the outcomes mean — “everlasting life” vs “not see life”?
Here is what feels true to me at this point: Belief on the Son, on Jesus, is not primarily the acceptance of certain propositions. It’s much more than that. It is a surrender, an abdication of my personal authority, to Jesus as the embodiment of all legitimate authority. It includes the propositions I understand him to have advanced, but more importantly, it applies to his whole being — his behavior, demeanor, and especially who/what he was/is. This is a mystical truth beyond space, time and words. When I apprehend Jesus it is like apprehending God with the added specificity of a temporary incarnation. Analogously, even though God is co-extensive with the Universe, the statements “the Universe is good” and “God is good” are not equivalent.
But what of the consequences? “Everlasting life” is not a statement about time, any more than “heaven” is a reference to space. The contrast with “not see life” is informative — the only truly human life, the life I was created for, is “everlasting life.” It is the realization of my destiny as a scrap of the Divine. It is also optional, due to free will. I must choose it by surrendering to Jesus/God. The barrier is my sinful nature — in other words, my repeated choices to surrender instead to my ego (separating) desires. At least metaphorically (and to a great extent literally) it is a choice between earth and the spiritual.