Red and white tulips on the Cathedral grounds

John 5:30-47

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.

“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

John 5:30 I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of the one who sent me.

The opening sentences of our reading today continues to underscore Jesus’ identity and that all he does is the will of God. Earlier in this chapter, Jesus made the claim that he does nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing, as the son of God. Jesus provides evidence of his words with the testimony of four witnesses: John the Baptist, his works, God the Father and the scriptures.

Jesus lived his entire life in willing surrender to the leading and guiding of God. If we want to know who God is and what God is like, we need only look at Jesus, for his life is the perfect reflection of God’s love, mercy and healing. God’s will was always at the center of Jesus’ mission and ministry because Jesus never sought to do his own will but that of the one who sent him. Jesus understood that in order to have a strong, vibrant relationship with God, he needed to be totally dependent on God. The relationship between Father and Son is one of absolute dependence. It can be hard for us to live into such total dependence or to understand God’s will in and for our lives.

I believe it is helpful to realize that this is a process and not a one-time experience. This season of Lent provides us with the opportunity to have a spiritual reboot. When I think on the will of God, I find a starting point in the words from the penitential order: Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” ( Mark 12:29-31) It is important to remember that the purpose of our lives is loving God and loving others. Discerning God’s will for us demands our openness to the guiding of the Holy Spirit to see where God is at work. It will also require our confession that we can do nothing on our own but only with God’s help.


Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always
those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without
you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.