Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come."
So the Jews said,
"He is not going to kill himself, is He,
because He said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"
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.
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."
So they said to Him, "Who are you?"
Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning. 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."
They did not realize that He was speaking to them of the Father.
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. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him."
Because He spoke this way, many came to believe in Him..
In today’s Gospel, Jesus affirms His divinity and astonishes the Pharisees in the process. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, it’s extremely obvious what Jesus is saying, yet the Pharisees, who knew every detail of the law, couldn’t grasp Jesus’s words. Jesus is the Word of the Father; He and the Father are one. Jesus makes it clear that unless you believe He is the Christ, you cannot go where He’s going: Heaven. Does this mean Jesus is just being stingy with invites to the Eternal Banquet? No, of course not! Jesus implored the Pharisees time and again to repent and be saved but they continued to persist in their hardness of heart.
But what does it mean to believe in Jesus? He makes it clear that if we believe in Him, we will obey His commands and the Holy Trinity will dwell within us. It’s God’s life within that allows us to obey His law, thus becoming like the Father. Believing in Jesus is not purely about an intellectual knowing, rather it means we accept all that He has told us. Accepting His word into our heart lights the divine spark within. This divine spark is fueled by the word of God, utterly consuming and transforming us in love. This transformation cannot take place without humility, something the Pharisees severely lacked.
It is only through true humility that we can empty and dispose ourselves to truly receive the gift of God, which is His very life. Our hope is in Jesus who has revealed to us the way to the Father. He goes to prepare a place for us and no longer do we have to dwell in darkness like the Pharisees because Christ is our light and salvation! Today, in prayer, ask for the grace of humility that we might be ready to not only hear when Jesus speaks to us, but also understand His words, and ponder these words within our hearts.