Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Shock of the Gospel

During my years of reading the Bible, day by day, in small segments, there have been occasions when something has struck me so forcefully that the implications of it have changed me.

There is one passage in particular, the import of which first sank in many years ago. I have never forgotten it: the words are constantly just below the surface of my mind, rising into my consciousness quite frequently, and inspiring each time the same sense of wonder.

The context is St John's Gospel, Chapter 3. I am sure you will recall that Nicodemus, the Pharisee and leading Jew whose devoted but secret discipleship led him eventually to bring myrrh and aloes for the Lord's burial, first visited Jesus by night, in the early days of His public ministry. They engaged in a marvellously scholarly discussion; in the Jerusalem Bible translation one can almost hear their voices.

And in the middle of their conversation, Our Blessed Lord says these words:

"No one has gone up to heaven
except the One Who came down from heaven,
the Son of Man Who is in heaven"

"Who is in heaven". He is with us upon the earth, and He says He is in heaven.

I find these words wonderful, just wonderful.

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