This passage is about “listening,” “learning,” and “believing.” It is also about the reward that comes from practicing such virtues. First, it is about WHO we listen to…
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” John 6:47
This passage is about “listening,” “learning,” and “believing.” It is also about the reward that comes from practicing such virtues. First, it is about who we listen to. The verses preceding today’s answers that for us. “Everyone who listen to my Father and learns from him comes to me…” (verses 45-46)
Listening is the first virtue. Listening, by its very nature, is an act of humility. It is an active, not a passive verb. We choose to listen. Listening is not easy, it takes real focus and energy. If you have ever had the experience of listening intently to a complicated lecture, or speech, you recognize both how hard and even exhausting it is to do this. It takes all of one’s fullest effort to do so, to catch every word, to struggle to understand the meaning. This is both an effort of the will and an effort in humility. We listen, because we do not know. Aristotle started one of his most famous works, the “Nicomachean Ethic” with the sentence, “Man by nature desires to know.” What is it that we desire to know? The Truth about things.
As Christians on the lifelong journey toward God, our chief desire is to know the truth about God. We have been given the means to do this as well. We have the Holy Scriptures, and we have our prayer lives, graced by God. God wants nothing less than to reveal himself to us. In order for this to be facilitated we must lean into our desire to learn, that is, to know, and we must listen. Who are we listening to? To the Father, through the Holy Spirit.
The virtue that is necessary for learning then is humility. We must humbly bend our ears, the ears of our hearts, toward the Father and actively listen to what he has to teach us. If our desire to know God is sincere, we will burn with a desire to listen more closely and carefully. We will lean into our hunger to learn not only who he is to us, but to learn his will for us and for humanity. To learn such things naturally changes us. If we listen and learn, we will also want to live in accord with what we have heard and learned. If the experience of listening and learning is sincere, we will come to believe what we have heard and learned. We will be changed. We will want to live what we have learned joyfully and openly in our daily lives. And that is the promise that Jesus give us today: “Truly, truly, I say to you; whosoever believes has eternal life.” That is the gift of faith. To believe in Jesus, is to know the Father. This is God’s gift of grace to us through His Holy Spirit. We are promised life eternal with him in heaven. Thanks be to God!
Lord, deepen our desire to listen to you through your Holy Scriptures and through our prayerful attention to your word. Teach us your ways, O God. Give us the grace of increasing faith and the desire to live in accord with your truth. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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