John 12:37-50 

 

 37Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
   “Lord, who has believed our message
      and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

   42Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

 44Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

 47“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. 49For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

The opposite of faith is not doubt: the opposite of faith is fear. And people of faith ought always to be mindful of this reality, mindful of fear. Fear is most evident, most painfully prominent when we engage the thornier questions of human community. Resistance to change is often couched in words of fear. While some pose very real and good questions, others fear that the opening of doors and the possibilities would look as though the Church were condoning improper behavior. The greatest power in our society said Mark Twain is public opinion. Some elevated, he maintained to a stature of that surpassing God.

Jesus looked at the religious authorities and saw faith, caught like a prehistoric insect perfectly preserved in amber. It looked like a living faith, so perfect in every detail, that it was dead, constricted, good only as a relic. To Jesus, who was desperately seeking some evidence that his ministry was bearing fruit, that his gospel was bringing life like water to a parched field, it was a baron desert.

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