A Matter of Choice

John 8: 21-30
Nm 21: 4-9 / Ps 102: 2-3,16-21

…you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.
(John 8:21)

Lord Jesus, this is my reflection:
As a process of my redemption.
Let me share in your crucifixion
Thru my trials and tribulation.

Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?” But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been claiming all along,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.

Reflection

Jesus said to the Pharisees and the scribes, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin.” If they were truly well-versed in Scriptures, they would have remembered the words of Jeremiah (29:13): “And you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” The only problem was that the Pharisees and scribes did not seek God with all their heart. Instead, they had been more concerned with displaying their own self-righteousness.

Even as Jesus kept warning them: “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins,” they were still blind without faith, asking Him, “Who are you?” All this time, Jesus had been performing so many miracles in their midst, and yet these religious leaders, fearful of losing their influence over the Jews, chose not to accept Him as the Messiah. They were so self-righteous that they even sarcastically implied that Jesus must be going to hell by saying “Will he kill himself?” when Jesus said “Where I go you cannot come.” Suicide for the Jews was the surest way to go to hell.

Many people today are in danger of falling into the same trap of self-righteousness that the Pharisees and scribes had doomed themselves into, dying in this sin. It is not only in denying the divinity of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior; it is also in denying the existence of hell, feeling smug in the thought that they have a place reserved for them in heaven. This is the most cunning deception of Satan — to make people believe that there are no devils, and therefore there is no hell. Anyone who falls into this lie is making a liar of our Lord Jesus, Who emphatically taught us that we will all be judged according to our choices: those who do not listen to His Word “will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Mt. 25:46).

Dear God, we choose to heed the warning of our Lord Jesus in the Gospel, and we believe every word that He has spoken to be the eternal truth. As we meditate on His cross, we are reminded of how He sacrificed His life for our salvation, and we are encouraged to take part in spreading His Good News of salvation to others. Amen.

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