“A division occurred in the crowd because of Him.” (John 7:43)
When we open up the Gospel of John, we find ourselves quickly swept up into a really rich character driven drama. We all are familiar with the star of the drama and we are introduced to Him in Act One when we read “In the beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1) And we all know that John is talking about Jesus! He’s the main character “…the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
However, how often have we ever stopped to think about the interesting “supporting cast” that we also meet in John’s Gospel? There is John the Baptist, Mary, Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, and tons more. Then add to this list of characters a long list of antagonizing characters that include Pilate, Judas, and certain chief priests and Pharisees, all of whom we meet in John’s Gospel reading 7:40-53.
This drama of John’s comes to life in an extremely moving way when we see the way this cast of characters all encounter Jesus. We see their different interactions with Him either positive or negative which are often very emotional and powerful. Meeting Jesus in John’s Gospel becomes the focal point of each of their own personal stories.
In some ways, these encounters with Jesus are what push the main story along. As we read it, we begin to realize and understand that John isn’t just giving us a simple account or record of Jesus’ ministry, but he is also trying to pull all of us into this drama as well. It sort of like in John’s mind we are other members of the supporting cast of this drama. So think about that, how will your encounters with Jesus, the main character in all of creation play out?
Today, whether you know it or not, you will encounter Jesus, some way, somewhere. You might meet Him as you are praying and reflecting upon John 7:40-53, or there might be an approaching plot twist in your day that might reveal Him to you in a totally and unexpected manner. If this happens, ask for the help of the Holy Spirit so that you will know how to respond to this encounter, especially with grace. If Jesus speaks into your life as the Word of God, you need to receive His wisdom that He is offering you. Receive the light and joy He is offering. If you happen to be in need of peace, then let Him show you that He is the Good Shepherd, is now, has been and always will be. He is the Good Shepherd of your soul and only He can guide you into a safe pasture. If you find yourself feeling empty inside then let Him fill your heart and mind with joy, for He is the Bread of Life!
Personal Note of Encountering Jesus – After leaving a place my husband had lived for over 12 years and moving, leaving behind my church family of 12 years has been a difficult adjustment and problems continue to arise to make it continue to be a difficult situation to some regard. I found myself yesterday spending most of my time with the Lord through prayer, reading the Bible, doing the Rosary and listening to Christian music. My husband was sleeping to prepare for another graveyard shift at his new job and was called in early, which took away any time we would have had together. Once he left, I realized just how lonely I was, with no friends nearby, I felt alone and empty. I began to talk to God “Lord, please don’t misunderstand me, I really enjoyed all the time we spent together today, but still I feel lonely, after all, I am only human and sometimes like the company of others.” Just five minutes after that short prayer my phone rang and it was my son and his fiance calling me to say hi and to see how I was doing. It seems they were just pulling into a restaurant in the town they live in, 15 miles from me, my son had told his fiance to give me a call because something was telling him to do so. When they asked how I was doing I told them “Fine, just feeling a little lonely.” As soon as I said that I could hear my son say “That’s it! Mom, be ready in 20 we’re coming to take you out to dinner.” Once I hung up the phone I immediately realized that I had just encountered Jesus. As the evening came to an end and they brought me home I thanked them both again for the nice dinner and my son looked at me, smiled and said “No, mom, thank you for allowing us to do this for you.” That last comment so touched my heart I nearly broke down and cried. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
“Lord, may today hold a new encounter with you. Help me to respond gracefully no matter how I meet You.”
Psalm 7:2-3, 9-12
Lord, show us how we can meet You in our daily lives.
Help us to become more aware of You even in the smallest of things.
Teach us to open our hearts, minds and arms to new encounters with You.
And to learn how to accept each one of these encounters with grace and joy.