Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday after Ascension

by Rev. Fr. Mathew Chacko

Look to the Son and believe in Him!

John 6:40 - For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." [New International Version]

The theme of "Eternal Life in Jesus" appears 41 times in the New Testament: in the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles. The first three Gospels, commonly called the Synoptic Gospels refer to Eternal life in general terms. The story of the young man who asks Jesus, "What must I do to inherit Eternal Life" is recorded in all three Gospels. The reward for those who left everything to follow Jesus is described as "Eternal Life in these Gospels as well.

But the Gospel and the Epistles of John treat this subject in an entirely different manner.

John 3: 14 -17 introduces the theme.

[14] Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

[15] that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

[16] For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

We learn three lessons here.

[1] Salvation comes to the believer through his faith and trust in the life-giving death of Jesus on the Cross.

[2] It is God's gift to him.

[3] God wants human beings to be "saved", to be in eternal fellowship with Him.

St. John goes on to amplify his thesis by telling us that by looking at Jesus in faith, following him ? loving him more anything else - believing in him and receiving him as savior and Lord secures one in eternal life. Jesus promises the Samaritan woman that if she trusts in Jesus, eternal life will spring from her. By believing in Jesus, the believer passes from death to life. [See John 4: 14 & 5: 24]

John defines "Eternal Life" in no uncertain terms: "Now this is eternal life, that they may know you, and the only true god, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." [Jesus' High Priestly Prayer - John 17:3]

The First Epistle of John has six references: Here the Apostle writes emphatically the fact that Eternal Life is in the Son of God, Eternal Life is the Son of God himself, and that this is God's gift to us. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -- The Life was made manifest; and we saw it and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and which was made manifest to us. [1: 1-2]

"And this is the testimony: that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life. [5:11 & 12]

In the Gospel and in the epistle, St. John teaches us unequivocally that "Jesus himself is Eternal Life.

What are the implications of the revelation that Jesus Christ is Eternal Life and our true life is in him and with him?

Should we not order our lives and activities around this great gift of God ? "Eternal Life" in and through the Son of God?

Since this is my heritage, is my life satisfactory today?

What should I do to make my life congenial to eternity?

The basic problem with a lot of us Christians is that we do not believe in Jesus. We are "Christians" because we were born of "Christian" parents, are baptized and we participate in activities in the Church, local diocesan and the Church as a whole. We pay our dues, we serve on Committees and are visible to everyone. We go through the motions and really doesn't hinge any where!

A great awakening is what we need. During this Pentecost Season we ought to seek earnestly the striving of the Holy Spirit in our lives! so that he may

I do not claim myself to be a "Christian hundred percent." There are elements of thought, word and deed, where I need to make changes, some drastically at that. Am I trying the best of my ability to better myself everyday? Do I keep my life at the high level expected of me because I have accepted the responsibility to serve and lead people to Christ, to help them become more and more like the Savior in whose ?image and likeness' we have been created? I would say, yes. But I confess that the image of God in me is not shining as it should, because I am far from His likeness. I know that the "lmage of God" is built in me to help me to shape up to his likeness: to love like Him, to forgive like Him, to give like Him, and to be like Him.

Today's Gospel exhorts us one more time to take Jesus at His word. See him and believe in Him. Put our trust in Him. He will surely do his part, he will keep his promise to us: He will give us Eternal Life!

May the Lord keep us all in Eternal Life! Amen

See Also:

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