COLLECT OF THE WEEK
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. - Book of Common Prayer, p. 218
Today’s reading makes me think of the word “Believer”. The Jews marveled at the teachings of Jesus and at the miracles that He performed – but many did not believe in Him as the Christ sent from God. For His part, Jesus’ humility led Him to give the credit for His words and works not to Himself but to the One who sent Him – God the Father.
Perhaps humility is not all that motivates Jesus as those around Him argue about, struggle with, and in many cases reject a belief in Him as God’s agent of love and mercy. Might we see, too, a desperate care for souls in this tense back and forth with His people: I bring God’s love and mercy, if you don’t believe in me, you miss that!
Already preparing for His approaching sacrifice on the cross, Jesus emphasized the incredible preciousness of an encounter with and subsequent belief in Him: “I shall be with you a little longer, and then I go to him who sent me; you will seek me, and you will not find me; where I am you cannot come.” This statement seemed to confuse His hearers, but set the standard for us even today.
If we believe that in Jesus’ death for us on the cross He is God’s agent of love and mercy for us, we find our sins forgiven, and our promise everlasting life.