John 12:37-41: Incredulity
“John gives a historical explanation of the disbelief of the Jewish people, not a psychological one. The Old Testament has to be fulfilled; the disbelief that met Isaiah’s message was a foreshadowing of the disbelief that Jesus encountered”. NAB cf. page 170
It is always about the conversion of the heart, the transformation of the mind. Seeing with our eyes and hearing with our ears does not bring us closer to God. Experiencing the world with our hearts . . . this is what calls us into a state of permanent discipleship.
Human nature being what it is, we find myriad excuses and reasons for not doing the work of discipleship. The eye and the ear bring us sight and sound which we are accustomed to reasoning away with lines of thought we are practiced in using. What good can one person do? This is what people in my neighborhood do and I do not want to offend them. This way is more convenient for me. That has no effect upon me. I like to shop there. It’s none of my business. It’s not hurting anybody. These are the phrases that trip off our lips easily.
Even Jesus with the fullness of the presence of God was not able to turn all hearts and minds to himself and The Way. He lived and worked and played among an incredulous people hardened by the tortures of the world. Even some of those among whom he prayed did not believe . . . and this was after seeing with the eye and hearing with the ear. In John 20:29 Jesus tells his disciples that those who believe without seeing or hearing are blessed indeed.
And so we have this to ponder. As Jesus passes among us each day, how do we respond? Are we the incredulous comfortable crowd? Or are we the restless, open listeners . . . waiting for The Word?
A Favorite from September 1, 2008.