This Gospel passage from John comes as a summary of Jesus’s teachings before his final passion. What are the important themes that we find here?
To believe in Jesus is to believe in the Father who sent him. In John’s Gospel, this theme repeats itself again and again, right from the very first chapter. Jesus is the way to the Father, the ambassador of the Father. By placing one’s trust in Jesus, we open ourselves to God and his grace.
Jesus is the light of the world, the light which brings life and dispels darkness and evil. Light is a common symbol of understanding, of goodness and transparency, of attractiveness. “All that came to be was alive with his life, and that life was the light of men,” says John in the prologue to his Gospel. Jesus invites every person to cast aside darkness and share in the light.
Jesus comes to save us, not to judge or condemn us. We condemn ourselves, not he.
We condemn ourselves when we reject the words that Jesus speaks, for we reject not just Jesus but God who has sent him.
Why do men reject the words of Jesus? Sometimes it is because it means changing one’s lifestyle and that is much too hard. We are creatures of sloth and sensuality, most of us, and we will not change easily and listen to anything else.
But there ‘s also fear. As John puts it, we value our reputation with men rather than honoring God. We don’t want to be publicly ridiculed, penalized, imprisoned, because we follow Jesus. This too may be something that keeps us from turning to the Lord.