In the Gospel Jesus said, “I say to you, the Son can not do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing.”
I am sure the Scripture scholars could explain to you just what Jesus meant there, but most us feel good when on our own we feel we have uncovered some of the Bible’s secrets. Let me tell you about my coming on a meaning for that sentence in today’s Gospel.
Thirty years ago when I had to teach a course on John’s Gospel to a parochial school’s Eighth Grade I had the great help of Father Raymond Brown’s wonderful two-volume commentary on John’s Gospel, but I wanted to dig into it line by line.
I did just that. At the end of every other line I marked the theme touched on. Was it sin, or love, or the Spirit, or what? As I went line by line, I also marked every reoccurrence of each theme on the inside of the back cover.
When I had carefully read through all twenty-one chapters of John’s Gospel I was amazed to find that the list on my back cover assured me that the theme the Gospel kept coming back to was how in leading us to heaven Jesus kept doing what the Father had done in leading the Israelites to the Promised Land.
The Exodus story began with the erection of the Father’s Meeting tent, resulting in its glowing with his glory. John, 1:14, speaking of Jesus, stated, “He made his dwelling with us, and we saw his glory.”
Where the Father sent down bread from heaven, Jesus said he was the true bread from heaven. Where the Father gave water from the rock, Jesus said, “If anyone thirst let him come to me drink.” Where the Father sent a fiery cloud to lead the Israelites through the desert nights, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows mw will not walk in darkness.”
As those parallels went on and on it sunk on me that John wrote his Gospel to show that Jesus will as surely lead us to heaven as the Father led the Israelites to their Promised Land.