Does the gospel message make sense?

We aren’t capable of capturing the gospel message on our own. None of this makes any sense without God’s insistence, persistence, and love. Humanity would never have known who he is without revelatory inspiration. It’s a lot to swallow—too much if we’re honest. We need to package the firehose of information a little bit better. Turning our backs to God because he is confusing rejects the very thing we need to do.

Image by RD Law

Jesus' relationship makes the firehose of information believable

By John Pearring

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Acts 13:44-52
John 14:7-14

Jesus knew his three years of revolutionary ministry staged with his merry band of brothers and sisters, which he gathered under an apostolic leadership, wouldn’t be institutionally successful during his lifetime on earth. He wouldn’t be recognized and worshipped as the king of the universe—quite the opposite. They would get rid of him.

He was not successful during his initial 33 years. The success comes later. 

Jesu's’ incarnated-God project required many elements leading up to his birth and several cosmic interferences in the universe's history after his death to come together into one story. The early scriptures set up all Jesus would do to confirm his divinity. The later testament of gospels and letters explained the cosmic changes he orchestrated. In truth, no one understood at the time what the dickens was going on. 

The truth had to coalesce. His resurrection was real. Jesus’ redemptive death ended animal sacrifice to atone for sins. The temple was him, not a building. He would make all his followers temples indwelled by the Holy Spirit, nurtured by his Eucharistic body and blood, and authority, order, and truth would be written by the Father onto the hearts of everyone who believed in him.

All this is institutionalized in the Body of Christ, a Church led by the Holy Spirit, as the path into the Mystical Body of Christ and membership in the Communion of Saints.

It’s a lot to swallow—too much, if we’re honest. We need to package that firehose of information a little bit better. Turning our backs to God because he is confusing rejects the very thing we need to do.

Jesus didn’t pretend that his message was an easy one. He did offer a smoother path to ingest it. The order of the universe and the creator of all things is packaged into a personal relationship, nurtured by a brotherhood/sisterhood of believers, with God actively involved at every step, turn, and moment. 

We aren’t capable of capturing this message on our own. In truth, none of this makes any sense without God’s insistence, persistence, and love. Humanity would never have known who he is without revelatory inspiration. Those revelations tell us it’s all true, prophecied, and presented in meticulous detail in the Jewish texts. Jesus, the Son of God, joined the human race to save our sorry souls and live with us forever.

It’s a bit much, really. It’s so convoluted. A Holy Trinity. God lives as a man and is resurrected to be a man, for all time, while being God. The Father remains, the Holy Spirit remains, and the Son existed before time because the universe was built to his specifications.


God’s insistence, persistence, and love.

He insisted on being one of us in every way humans must suffer and prosper. He persisted in providing us with a catalog of evidence to counter every sabotage and lie about his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He loved the best and the worst of us equally by making promises only God could offer and only an intimate relationship would deliver.

We know these are behaviors of God because Chapter 14 of John’s gospel sets up the Holy Trinity that Jesus inspired John to record. Jesus documents who he is. He introduces himself as all three persons in the holy trio of God (as one God). Then, he assures us that even though we can’t make heads or tails of the Holy Trinity and his part in it, he’ll convince us through the gift of faith. A relationship that will stay with us.

Chapter 14 outlines the steps for a persistent, insistent, and loving relationship with God.

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth* and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:5-6).

That sounds straightforward, but does it make sense? The Jews knew their God. Jesus called the God of Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and David the “Father” and claimed to be one with the Father—that is, he, too, was God. 

If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father,* and that will be enough for us” (John 14:7-8).

Thomas and Philip were unclear about it. “Well, where’s this Father God?” Jesus doubled down on He and the Father to Thomas. And now Philip has to pipe up that he doesn’t understand what’s being said either.

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9).

Jesus’ response to Philip reveals his frustration, but this exchange with his apostles has a purpose. The men who knew him so well did not, truly could not, know who he was. Jesus stuck with them as they tried to grasp the concept of God as also a man born from a woman. How would they be convinced?

With the gift of faith and the certainty that this gospel message is true, we read this exchange between the apostles and Jesus, knowing how weak we are. They must “believe” what he’s saying, and so must we. The evidence is our relationship with him.

How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? (John 14:9).

How can they believe? Jesus counters that if the logic doesn’t work, rely on the evidence.

The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves (John 14:10-11).

Is this still hard to accept? Then, consider that we’ll be able to do the same things Jesus did. We’ll collaborate on the evidence, sparking others to see Jesus for who he is. 

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:12-13).

To finish off the Trinity picture, Jesus then explains how intimate God can be:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (John 14:16-18).

This Advocate is essential to our belief. 

“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you” (John 14:25-26).

This is our process. We wonder, we are confused, we get clarity, and we get confused again. Yet, we are not alone.

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

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