6 May, 2020

Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in the one who sent me…

~ John 12:44 ~

We should beware of people who imagine they are the centre of the universe, who expect others to place their trust in them alone, who claim that they alone have the answers to life’s great questions. You know the type: populists who imagine they have more competence in situations than experts whose lives and training have prepared them to address a crisis. Populists who ‘know’ more than the rest of us because they have some special insight because they’re, well, ‘special’.


If we accept that Jesus of Nazareth had – more than other people – a certain claim to special insight, based on what Christians historically believe is his both divine and human nature, one would expect him to act a bit more like a posturing populist or a politician who generally likes to throw his/her weight around. But he doesn’t.


Notice what Jesus does. Although he never tells his disciples not to believe in him, he reminds them that in a certain sense – a very real sense – he is but the representative of God, the one who sent him. He is to be followed because he is of God, fully with and in God. Both God and God’s representative.


At which point our language starts to break up. Although Jesus is God’s representative, he is not just a prophet for Christians. And he is not just God pretending to be human. It’s complicated.


So it should be. Life is complicated. Beware of people who say it is not.


Loving and complicated God


Guide us through your Spirit

To discern truth from falsehood, wisdom from nonsense.

May we strive to a deeper understanding

Of you and your world


Through Christ our Lord




Catholic Parliamentary

Liaison Office

Jesuit Institute
South Africa

Reflection prepared by

Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

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