“The Father and I are one.”
– John 10:30 (NRSV)
Many of the things Jesus said were confusing. He often told stories that did not seem to make any sense. Most of the people listening to him were portrayed as not understanding him. Even today, as I sit and listen to one of my seminary professors, I am often surrounded by a classroom full of students who are just as baffled as I am by what the true meaning of what Jesus said actually is. Sometimes the differing opinions and ideas give me a feeling of numbness. I start to wonder why I even bother trying to figure it out. It’s not like there will ever be a “eureka!” moment at the end of it all.
Or, is there?
As I was growing up, I attended Sunday school and Church services weekly. While most children looked forward to Christmas services, I got the most out of Good Friday. I remember sitting through the Good Friday service in a silence that existed nowhere else. There was no music. There was no offering. Honestly, there was barely a congregation. Not many people were ever interested in sitting through seven sermons. Seven sermons on the last seven words of Jesus Christ. The only time in my childhood I ever really felt like I belonged anywhere was during that Good Friday service. Sitting on that hard wooden pew, listening to the torturing, beating, and abandonment that Jesus experienced was exactly where I belonged. Only Jesus knew what it felt like to be discarded by his father. Only Jesus knew what was in my heart as I sat there and listened to his horrible end. Only he knew I understood his pain. Only he understood mine.
That connection may sound twisted to a lot of people. In fact, when I shared it with one of my professors during my first year of seminary, he was unable to keep from gasping as if he had just heard me confess to murder. Later, that professor suggested I take some time to read the Gospel of John. He told me I might find more of the Love that Jesus and his Father shared. Because I was becoming more open-minded, I followed his suggestion. My life has never again been the same.
What I have discovered after several readings and re-readings of the Gospel of John is something that I had never before been able to wrap my brain around. Jesus and God are One. Jesus is God. God is Jesus. God did not force Jesus to become human. God, through Jesus, became human. God did not torture Jesus and allow him to suffer. God, through Jesus, experienced physical pain and suffering. God did not turn his back on Jesus in his hour of need. God, through Jesus, experienced emotional, physical and spiritual abandonment.
God, through Jesus, felt everything I have ever felt and ever will feel.
That statement is the exact reason why I am going to seminary. It is the reason why I keep seeking answers. It is the reason why I keep listening to others share about their own spiritual experiences. What I believed as a child about God and Jesus served a purpose. Through all my days of rebellion, depression, loneliness, and desperation, that connection with Jesus was always there, like a lighthouse in a raging storm, reminding me of his Light. Today, it is no longer necessary. For today, I am in the lighthouse, shining the beacon for others; recognizing the One that lives in me through Jesus. If that isn’t a “EUREKA!” moment, I don’t know what is!
Thank you for this intimate, honest, and inspiring message.
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