Today’s gospel serves as a bridge between the Johannine account of the public ministry of Jesus and beginning of his passion and glorification. The verses close out the section of John’s gospel referred to as the “Book of Signs”
- Changing water into wine at Cana (John 2:1-11)
- Healing the royal official’s son in Capernaum (John 4:46-54)
- Healing the paralytic at Bethesda (John 5:1-15)
- Feeding the 5,000 (John 6:5-14)
- Jesus’ walking on water (John 6:16-24)
- Healing the man blind from birth (John 9:1-7)
- The raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45)
It also includes the notable “I am” statements: living water, bread of life, Good Shepherd, and more…
42 Nevertheless, many, even among the authorities, believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not acknowledge it openly in order not to be expelled from the synagogue.43 For they preferred human praise to the glory of God. (John 12:42-43)
This was a problem in Jesus’ lifetime and in the later preaching by Jesus’ disciples. It is as though Isaiah 53:1 had been written for this occasion: “Who would believe what we have heard?” Paul would have the same feeling regarding his own preaching ministry (Rom 10:16 citing the same passage from Isaiah).
You can almost hear the sigh of resignation from John’s writing. The same sigh we might have when our family, friends, children, the next generation don’t share our belief, our passion, our faith. Nonetheless, John summarizes Jesus’ teachings.
- Jesus is light of the world, come not to condemn but to save,
- there is judgment that depends on personal reaction, and
- faith/trust in Jesus’ word gives eternal life.
St. John then turns the page and continues to tell the story. He will get to the end and begin again, tell the story, and let the Spirit do the heavy lifting in the world. So should each one of us.