The Daily Office | March 2, 2018
Psalms 9, 10, 11
Psalms 12, 13, 14
Exodus 10:21-11 end
Collect: The Second Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
John 3:31-36 is an interesting paragraph. Quotation marks and punctuation weren't in the original Greek text; these are added by translators and scholars to their best ability. But here, some think that these verses are part of John the Baptist's speech; others think these are Jesus's words in response to the Baptist; but most think, and I would agree with them, that these are the words and thoughts of the author, the Evangelist John.
John here seems to be commenting on what has preceded, from both Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus and with the Baptist's response to his disciples. He emphasizes the community of Jesus with the Father and the importance of being in right relationship with Him.
Most interesting to me is the very last verse, how the author sets contrasting statements: "whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life." What's most interesting is that within this clear contrast, the verbs change: The one who believes in Christ is contrasted against the one who does not obey Christ.
Belief necessitates obedience. The one who believes necessarily obeys Christ. His faith compels him to obey. But the one who disobeys does so because he does not believe. John sets up a direct relationship between faith and obedience.
Where do you find yourself between faith and obedience? Does your faith compel you to obey? If you are struggling with obedience, have you examined your faith? Lent is the perfect time for self-examination and to return to the life of obedience to God.