SET-2: Season of Denha
Despite the opponents Jesus had in Jerusalem, he attended the Feast of Tabernacles in the Temple and preached there. He predicted his imminent return to his Father in Heaven, while the hostile Jews who rejected him would die in their sins. Jesus clarified he was from above, but those who rejected him belong to the world. Jesus came to lift humanity to Heaven. He allowed his enemies to lift him on the cross, after which came his glorification through his resurrection and ascension. He now invites us to avoid dying in our sins, and to instead die to sin and follow his path of the cross to our glorification in Heaven. Jesus unequivocally asserted that his Father was with him. So also, God is with us by the merit of the same Jesus Christ and the sacraments he offers us through the Church established by him for our salvation.
(Jn 8:21) He said to them again, “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.” (22) So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?” (23) He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. (24) That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” (25) So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. (26) I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.” (27) They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. (28) So Jesus said (to them), “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. (29) The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” (30) Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
After Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life (Jn 6:26-65), at the synagogue in Capernaum, “many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him” (Jn 6:66). Even his brothers did not believe him (Jn 7:5). However, the 12 apostles stayed with him (Jn 6:67-69). Realizing that the Jews were trying to kill Jesus, and because his time had not yet come (Jn 7:6), he delayed his travel to Judaea for the Feast of Tabernacles (Jn 7:1). He went in secret to the Temple (Jn 7:10) when the feast celebration was half over (Jn 7:14). The people assembled for the festival were divided on who Jesus was (Jn 7:12). He boldly preached to them and “many of the crowd began to believe in him” (Jn 7:31). However, people were divided on account of him (Jn 7:43). The chief priests and the Pharisees sent guards to arrest Jesus (Jn 7:32). But they could not do so (Jn 7:44). On the last day of the festival, Jesus taught on the rivers of Living Water (Jn 7:37-39) and discussed the origins of the Messiah (Jn 7:40-52).
The next morning, Jesus again went to the Temple area and taught the people who had gathered to listen to him. Then, the Scribes and the Pharisees presented an adulterous woman in front of Jesus to test him. However, they failed in that attempt (Jn 8:211). Jesus continued teaching and revealing himself as the light of the world (Jn 8:12), that led to a dispute with the Pharisees.
Their attempts to arrest him were in vain because “his hour had not yet come” (Jn 8:20). So, the context of this gospel passage is a stressful situation of dispute between Jesus and the Pharisees.
(Jn 8:21) Again Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and though you look for me, you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.”
He said to them again.
Jesus addressed his discourse initially to the worshippers who came to the Temple of Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. However, the Pharisees, the Scribes, and the temple guards also joined the crowd. Some had an inquisitive mind while his adversaries had a pessimistic approach. Jesus addressed the negative remarks to his opponents.
He said to them again
Before Jesus taught at the Temple area on the Living Waters, he had told his Jewish adversaries, “I will be with you only a little while longer, and then I will go to the one who sent me. You will look for me but not find [me], and where I am you cannot come” (Jn 7:33-34). Hence, the following is a repetition of the same with an addition on their death in their sin if they reject him. The crowd that listened to him earlier might have gone and a new crowd might have formed. So, Jesus repeated what he had spoken before.
I am going away
We can take this in a double sense that Jesus used occasionally. He was addressing the Jews at the conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles. So, the pilgrims and Jesus were going away from Jerusalem after the completion of the feast. Another sense is that Jesus was going away from this world to return to his glory with the Father. So, they might no longer see him. The crowd could understand only the first sense.
You will look for me
After missing the opportunity for conversion, the listeners of Jesus might change their minds and look for salvation in vain. Jesus expressed similar thought in some of his parables, like the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31) and the parable of the ten virgins (Mt 25:1-13). The Rich Man and the Foolish Virgins realized their mistake only late and missed attaining their goal. The same would happen to the Jews who forsake Jesus the Messiah.
You will die in your sin
By rejecting their long-awaited Messiah, they were giving up their redemption and embracing their spiritual destruction. They seemed to be intentionally dying in their sins. Their rejection of the Saviour resulted in their destruction in this world, and in the world to come.
Some Biblical scholars interpret this from a historical perspective. Forty years after Jesus’ warning, the Roman army, under the leadership of Titus, attacked the Jews and destroyed Jerusalem along with the Temple in 70 AD. The Jews would earnestly desire the intervention of the Messiah to save them from that distress. But no other Messiah would come because Jesus is the only Messiah, and they resolutely avoided him. According to the historian Josephus, the Roman army killed 1.1 million people and took away 97,000 as slaves to Rome. Many fled to areas around the Mediterranean Sea. The Roman army destroyed the prestigious Jewish Temple. The Christians had fled from Jerusalem before this happened.
The sacrifice of Jesus was the remedy for the original sin that all who receive baptism and join his kingdom (the Church) that he established on the day of Pentecost would benefit. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mk 16:16).
We must make due effort to free ourselves also from our personal sins. The teachings of Jesus and the sacraments he offers through the Church help us remedy this. If the wicked do not turn away from their evil conduct, “then they shall die for their sin” (Ezek 3:18; 18:18). The sins of omission can also lead to eternal damnation (Mt 25:41-43). So, accepting the gospel of Jesus and practising it are essential to save us from sinful death. Those who reject Jesus become the slayers of their own souls.
The word for sin is “hamartia” which means missing a target in shooting. In the spiritual sense, it means missing life’s very goal, which is to reach heaven and be united with God. So, the non-believer and the impenitent miss their God-granted goal of reaching Heaven.
Where I am going you cannot come
Jesus is the bridge between Heaven and Earth. Though other religions attempt to reach heaven, they cannot reach that end. Jesus has opened the gates of Heaven and has entrusted its key to Simon Peter (Mt 16:19). Those who reject or ignore Jesus will not pass over this bridge. Hence, they cannot approach Jesus, who sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. So, Jesus is asserting that he will die, rise from the dead, and will ascend to Heaven, where those who reject him cannot reach.
(22) The Jews wondered, “Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means when he says: ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
Formerly, when Jesus mentioned, “I will go to the one who sent me. You will look for me but not find me, and where I am you cannot come” (Jn 7:33-34), the Jews said to one another, “Where is he going that we will not find him? Surely, he is not going to the dispersion among the Greeks to teach the Greeks, is he?” (Jn 7:35). When Jesus repeated the same, they thought differently.
He is not going to kill himself, is he?
For Jesus, his death was imminent, and he was aware when that would happen. His death was a God-designed one that he voluntarily accepted for the salvation of humanity. When Jesus predicted that indirectly, the Jews suspected Jesus of contemplating a voluntary death. The reasoning behind it was that no one knows the time of his death except someone who commits suicide. The adversaries made use of this to ridicule Jesus as if he was going to end his own life. Since self-murder was a great crime, they asked this question out of their hatred and contempt. They considered Jesus as a blasphemer, a friend of sinners, a demon-possessed person, a breaker of Sabbatical laws, the one who disrespected Jewish traditions, and a public critique of the Jewish leaders. So, they literally wished for his death, probably a self-inflicted one. This expressed their malicious intention.
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?
Since those who commit suicide were destined for Hades, the Jews interpreted that if Jesus was going to take his life, he would end up in Hades, and hence, he would be unreachable for them. The Jews believed that they would reach Abraham’s bosom, that had a great chasm to prevent anyone from crossing to the netherworld (Lk 16:26) as Jesus showed in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The enemies of Jesus wished his destruction even in his afterlife.
(23) But Jesus said, “You are from below and I am from above; you are of this world and I am not of this world.”
You belong to what is below … You belong to this world
The Greek word for ‘world’ is kosmos. God created it and found it good. Sin made it hard to live and created a gulf separating it from Heaven. All people born in this world inherit the consequences of the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. Under the influence of worldly passions, they do evil that is opposed to Heaven.
Instead of abandoning the world (humanity), God so loved it that He sent His son to redeem it (Jn 3:16). Without the rescue efforts of Jesus, they are destined to hell. Whoever rejects Jesus shall die in sin, and thus inherit eternal death.
I belong to what is above … I do not belong to this world
In contrast to the humans of this world who are guilty of evil desires and corrupt actions, Jesus, who is God incarnate, is from above and holy. Though his body is earthly because he was born of a woman, his incarnation was of divine origin by the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to reveal the heavenly truth to the worldly people and rescue them to Heaven. That created a chasm in the understanding of Jesus and that of the Jewish leaders of the time. The poor and the ordinary people welcomed his teachings whereas the proud and the elite rejected him and his teachings, in the process virtually opting for their own spiritual death.
(24) That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. And you shall die in your sins unless you believe that I am He.”
That is why I told you
Since Jesus is from above and he is God, he has the knowledge and authority to say that those who reject him will die in their sins. We humans have inherited sin by birth because of the fall of our first parents, and we have personal sins that we are committing. So, they are living in sin. They can be free from this bondage only by accepting Jesus, who came as the redeemer of humanity, and only he can do it. Otherwise, their destiny is death in their sins.
God revealed His name as “I AM” to Moses (Ex 3:14). To Isaiah also God revealed Himself as I AM, “You are my witnesses – oracle of the LORD – my servant whom I have chosen to know and believe in me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, and after me there shall be none” (Isa 43:10). Jesus identified himself with the Father using the same name. When he used “I AM” for himself, the Jews tried to stone him (Jn 8:56-59) because they clearly perceived Jesus as making himself equal to God. Jesus used “I AM” in seven pronouncements concerning himself combining it with the metaphors that express his saving relationship with humanity. All of them appear in the gospel of John: I AM the Bread of Life (Jn 6:35,41,48,51); I AM the Light of the World (Jn 8:12); I AM the Gate for the Sheep (Jn 10:7,9); I AM the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11,14); I AM the Resurrection and the Life (Jn 11:25); I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6); and I AM the True Vine (Jn 15:1,5). Also in John 8:28, Jesus used I AM for himself: “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM” (Jn 8:58). When the soldiers came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane, he revealed himself again as I AM (Jn 18:5). All these assertions constitute proof that Jesus is from above, that he is God, God Incarnate or the Messiah.
For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins
Jesus further clarified the requirement of faith in him as God (I AM) to stave off dying in our sins. When the singular is used for sin, it refers to Original Sin. Here Jesus uses the plural “sins” instead of the singular “sin” he has used earlier (Jn 8:21). That denotes the sins they had committed besides the sin they had inherited at birth. Besides the spiritual death, some interpret this also as a warning of the temporal destruction of Jerusalem wrought by the Roman army in 70 A.D. under the leadership of Titus. The Christians had escaped before that savage attack while many Jews died, and several others faced casualties, including the destruction of the Holy City and the Temple.
(25) So they asked him, “Who are you?” Jesus said, “Just what I have told you from the beginning.
“Who are you?”
This was a questioning laced with ridicule because Jesus expressly claimed that he was from above and equivalent to God. The opponents’ goal was not to learn from him, but to put him down.
What I told you from the beginning
Since the words in the original Greek text can have different meanings, the translations for Jesus’ answer could vary. For example, “What I told you from the beginning” could well mean, “Everything I am saying to you now is only a beginning,” or “I told you at the beginning what I am also telling you (now).” Jesus clarified that he had the same answer that he had given from the start of their discussion or from the beginning of his public ministry. He did not change his stance, even though his adversaries tried to ridicule him.
(26) “I have much to say about you and much to judge; but the One who sent me is truthful and everything I learned from him, I proclaim to the world.”
I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true
Jesus’ Jewish adversaries who were from below denounced Jesus on the basis of their worldly misconception concerning Jesus. He, who was from God, had much to say to them in condemnation because of their denial of him as the Messiah and their false allegations against him. His understanding of the Jews was genuine because the God who sent him is true.
What I heard from him I tell the world.
Jesus had a shift of thought here. He first wanted to focus on preaching the truth he had heard from his Father to the people who were receptive to his message, rather than pronouncing condemnation on the worthless people who opposed him. So, he refrained from denouncing them. The judgement will happen only at his Second Coming. His initial mission was to save the world by sharing with the people the truth that originated from God, his Father. He knew that his argument with his opponents would not benefit their salvation. Instead, he gave them time for their conversion.
(27) They did not understand that Jesus was speaking to them about the Father.
These words are from John the Evangelist. According to him, the Jews who were arguing with Jesus did not realize that it was God the Father who had sent Jesus, His Son, to redeem them and all humanity. For Jesus, of course, his every word, action, and events that happened in his life were according to his Father’s design. Even if they understood that Jesus was referring to God as his Father, they were fervently against acknowledging it. This was like Isaiah’s experience with the Israelites: They will “Listen carefully, but do not understand! Look intently, but do not perceive!” (Isa 6:9). That lasted “Until the cities are desolate, without inhabitants, houses, without people, and the land is desolate waste” (Isa 6:11).
(28) So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of myself, but I say just what the Father taught me.
When you lift up the Son of Man
Instead of saying when you lift “me”, Jesus used “lift up the Son of Man” to assert again his divine origin as a human being. He, thus, ascertained that they were going to crucify the Messiah. Despite such a clear warning, the Jewish leaders blindly annihilated him.
When you lift up the Son of Man
By using the words “lift up,” Jesus was referring to the prophetic action of Moses lifting a bronze serpent on a pole in the desert according to God’s direction (Num 21:9). God spared the snakebitten sinners of the Old Testament from death, provided they looked up at the bronze serpent as a mark of their faith in God’s word. So also, God would save from the bite of the devil (serpent), those who believe in the Son of God lifted on the cross. Jesus had to fulfil this prophetic action and was predicting to his opponents how he was going to accomplish his mission.
Jesus had foretold his crucifixion and its relationship with the lifting of the bronze serpent in his discussion with Nicodemus. Jesus told him, “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 14-15). Indeed, just as the Israelites in the desert regained earthly life by looking at the mounted bronze serpent, those who look at the crucified Saviour with faith will regain eternal life.
The Greek word for “lifted” means “highly exalted”. John gives importance to the exaltation of Jesus. So lifted also implied the glorification of Jesus that followed his crucifixion. They were his resurrection, ascension, and sitting at God’s right hand.
When you lift up the Son of Man
Someone had to mount Jesus on the cross. And Jesus was predicting who would do that. If the Jewish adversaries were not spiritually blind, they would have recognized him as the Son of God and would not have crucified him. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, “We speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, and which none of the rulers of this age knew; for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
Then you will realize that I AM
Jesus had told his disciples, “When I am lifted up from the Earth, I shall draw everyone to myself” (Jn 12:32). That happened soon after his crucifixion. “The centurion and the soldiers who guarded Jesus were greatly terrified when they observed the earthquake and all that had happened, and said, ‘Truly, this man was the Son of God’” (Mt 27:54). “And all the people who had gathered to watch the spectacle, as soon as they saw what had happened, went home beating their breasts” (Lk 23:48). On the day of Pentecost, after Saint Peter’s speech, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day” (Acts 2:41). More Jews believed in Jesus later. “And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). “But many of those who heard the word came to believe and (the) number of men grew to [about] five thousand” (Acts 4:4). “The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). Thus, the Jews who insisted that Pilate crucify Jesus and release Barabbas realized after his resurrection and ascension that he was indeed the Messiah.
That I do nothing on my own
As part of the Most Holy Trinity, Jesus is not independent of his Father and the Holy Spirit. He does the will of his Father. In John 6:38 Jesus said, “I came down from Heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” He further clarified, “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it [on] the last day” (Jn 6:39).
I say only what the Father taught me
The Jews who were amazed at Jesus’ words asked, “‘How does he know scripture without having studied?’ Jesus answered and said, ‘My teaching is not my own but is from the one who sent me. Whoever chooses to do His will shall know whether my teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own” (Jn 7:15-17). Being the Word of God, Jesus did not require anyone to teach him. Even at 12, when his parents found him in the Temple after three days of searching, he was “sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers” (Lk 2:46-47). At the Last Supper, Jesus promised his disciples, “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” (Jn 14:26). These show the unity of the one true God in three persons. The truth comes from the three persons of the Most Holy Trinity, and they are inseparable.
(29) The One who sent me is with me and has not left me alone; indeed, I always do what pleases him.”
The one who sent me is with me
Jesus expressed the Father in him in several instances. For example, when the Pharisees said to Jesus, “You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified” (Jn 8:13), he replied, “Even if I should judge, my judgement is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me. Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified. I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me” (Jn 8:16-18). When Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (Jn 14:8), Jesus replied, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). He continued, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works” (Jn 14:10).
He has not left me alone
In his farewell speech, Jesus told his disciples, “Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (Jn 16:32). However, at the acute stage of his suffering, Jesus cried on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) It was the fulfilment of Psalm 22:2 and an expression of the mental agony he went through, along with physical distress. Jesus knew the Father would not abandon him. However, like us, he also went through the dark moments of loneliness and helplessness.
I always do what is pleasing to him
Since Jesus was doing the will of his Father, he was pleasing to Him. Jesus told his adversaries, “Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also” (Jn 5:19).
During his Last Supper discourses, Jesus said, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love” (Jn 15:10). Thus, Jesus remained in the love of his Father by keeping his Father’s commandments. Our call is to please God by keeping His ordinances as revealed through Jesus Christ.
There were times when God the Father did express Himself in terms of how pleasing his Son was to Him. After John had baptized Jesus, “a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (Mt 3:17). At the transfiguration of Jesus, Peter, James, and John heard a voice from the bright cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Mt 17:5).
The Letter to the Hebrews 11:5 states, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and ‘he was found no more because God had taken him.’ Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.” Enoch lived only 365 years when the lifespan was above 900 years during the antediluvian period. Jesus lived only 33 years in this world and rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven because he pleased the Father by fulfilling the mission his Father had assigned to him.
(30) As Jesus spoke like this, many believed in him.
Because he spoke this way
The way Jesus spoke was strong but confusing to many, especially his claim as the Son of God. For others, his teachings and actions were convincing enough to believe that he was extraordinary. The Jews in Jerusalem were conservative. Though they approached him with an antagonistic attitude, many acted inversely. While some rejected him outright, others took what he said and did with a positive mindset.
Many came to believe in him
Jesus had many admirers and believers in Galilee and some in Judaea. Most of them had received favours from him or were receptive listeners to him. They included Jews, Gentiles, and Samaritans, many of whom were marginalized because they were sinners, poor, or publicans. The people who gathered around Jesus at the Temple when they were debating were of mixed receptivity. The pilgrims and the ordinary people had an inquisitive mind while his adversaries had a pessimistic approach. So, conversion happened in the lives of open-minded Jews.
Belief in Jesus could be of variant ranges. Some were mere admirers, and others were firm believers. When Jesus took an opinion survey of himself through the apostles while they were at Caesarea Philippi, the apostles responded, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Mt 16:14).
John the Evangelist reports that although Jesus had performed several signs in their presence, many Jews did not believe in him (Jn 12:37). “Nevertheless, many, even among the authorities, believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not acknowledge it openly in order not to be expelled from the synagogue” (Jn 12:42), Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea being major examples.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a wealthy member of the Sanhedrin. He was sure that Jesus was from God because he is reported to have said to Jesus, “No one can perform miraculous signs like you do unless God is with him” (Jn 3:2). He chose the night-time to discuss with Jesus to avoid public notice. The Bible reports two instances when Nicodemus supported Jesus. He questioned the Sanhedrin on the unjust trial of Jesus: “Does our law condemn a person without first hearing him and knowing the facts?” (Jn 7:50-51) Nicodemus supplied spices to embalm Jesus’ body and assisted Joseph of Arimathea for the burial (Jn 19:3942).
Joseph of Arimathea was a respected member of the Sanhedrin who was waiting for the Kingdom of God. He boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus for burial before sunset (Mk 15:43) and the governor gave him due permission. Joseph contributed his valuable tomb which no one had as yet used, and buried Jesus there. “Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb” (Mk 15:46).
1. Jesus said, “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come” (Jn 8:21). Since we have only a short lifespan, we must make use of every opportunity to do God’s will in our lives. Let us die in the grace of God rather in sin.
2. Just as a patient can refuse to take lifesaving medical treatment, we have the freedom to accept or reject the salvation that Jesus offers. There are many who abandon the faith they had once received. Let us pray for them and make sure that neither we nor the coming generations ever lose faith in Jesus.
3. Besides Baptism freeing us from Original Sin, we must free ourselves also from personal sin. The teachings of Jesus and the sacraments that he offers through the Church help us remedy this. If the wicked do not turn away from their evil conduct, “then they shall die for their sin” (Ezek 3:18; 18:18). The sins of commission and omission also can lead us to eternal damnation (Mt 25:41-43). So, accepting the gospel of Jesus and practising it are essential to save us from sinful death.
4. God will raise those who die in Christ at his Second Coming to eternal life and those who die in sin to eternal damnation. Let us die in Christ by taking up the hardships of Christian witnessing for eternal joy in Heaven.
5. Though Moses raised the bronze serpent on a pole, that alone could not save the lives of the people. The snake-bitten person had to look at it with repentance and seek God’s mercy. Likewise, the death of Jesus on the cross being the symbol of our salvation, we do need to look at the cross with repentance so as to gain our salvation.
6. Jesus said, “I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me” (Jn 8:28). In our teachings of others, especially as religious instructors, we shall not deviate from what Jesus taught us. Let us also follow Tradition and be true to the Magisterium of the Church.
7. Jesus said, “The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him” (Jn 8:29). John the Evangelist wrote in his First Letter, “Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God” (1 Jn 4:15). He continued, “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16b). Let us also feel a sense of oneness with God and practise acts of love to please Him.