Monday in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

John 8:21-30

He Is from Above; We Are from Below

Jesus continues his dialogue with the people which we read from yesterday.  And I have to confess that had I been among the people listening to him, I probably would have been just as confused and frustrated as they were at some of his sayings.  In contrast to some preaching manuals and church growth philosophies of our day, Jesus did not seek to be “user-friendly,” nor did he tailor his sermons to the “felt-needs” of the people.  He spoke only what the Father told him to speak, and most just did not get it.

And there is only one reason for this, though it can be stated in different ways.  Sometimes we say that their hearts were hardened, which is true.  We say that their minds were darkened by sin, which is also true.  But, here, Jesus states the same truth but from another angle: “You are from below; I am from above.  You are of this world; I am not of this world.”  And this states the same truth but in a most fundamental way, that there is the greatest of differences between us and him; that is, not just quantitative, but qualitative.  It’s not that Jesus is just better than us; he’s completely different and other than us.  Now, yes, he came and assumed our humanity, and lived our life, but that is what he chose to do, voluntarily.  And when he became man, he did so while remaining God at the same time.  But ultimately, he is different from us, for he is God the Son – from above.

And we are from below, the crowning achievement of his creation, made in his very image – that then rebelled against him.  And his message to us was that he had been sent by his Father to declare unto us what he had heard the Father say.  He spoke nothing on his own authority, only what he knew from the Father.  But they would not listen, because they could not listen, because they, and we, are from below.

And so the only passageway to “above” for us is through him, who is from above, “for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”  Only he has done that which is pleasing to Him, so only he can approach this holy God, who made us, and loves us – who loves us so much that even after we rebelled, sent His only Son to make us children from above.  And this happens only when we receive Christ as Savior and Lord.

We are from below and he is from above.  This is a reality that will never change; he will always be God and shall always be man.  But the Son of God became the Son of man that the sons of men may become sons of God.

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