“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.”
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s.”
The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.”
“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
“I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
No one section of Scripture was more instrumental to me coming into the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church than this one. If the Catholic Church was wrong about everything else she taught but was right about this, I wanted in. Of course it took me a decade and a half of internal wrangling to finally submit.
I was a hard-core protestant with plenty of venom and vinegar for all things Catholic. One of the chief accusations leveled by protestants against Catholics is that Catholics don’t believe the Bible. Yet it precisely at the point where Catholics take the words of Christ literally that the sharpest divide between Roman Catholics and our Separated Brethren exits.
In today’s Gospel, our Lord speaks, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refeuse to come to me to have life.”
It is no divine accident that just a few verses later Christ says what it takes to have life: “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. ” If he wanted to repulse a Jewish audience, images of touching a dead body and cannibalism was a sure-fire way to do it.
This was no parable. Jesus didn’t wait for a moment alone with the apostles to tell them what this riddle really meant. In fact, most of the gathered crowd left in disgust. Jesus turns to Peter and asks if he is going to leave as well.
Peter rightly answered: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Living the Christian life is hard. Some would say impossible. But where else can we go? The Israelites were walking a difficult road. They were told in many places in a variety of ways to choose which side they were on. As in today’s Old Testament reading, thousands chose a path of death and destruction.
Do you want to leave Jesus? Where else will you go?