By Bryn Rademaker
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” -John 1:1
Every day we have thousands of opportunities to encounter the Lord: through his creation and nature, through others’ acts of love towards us, through participation in the Sacraments…
But how often do we think of encountering him within his Word?
In his Gospel, St. John the Evangelist (my “homeboy saint,” as I call him) shares with us incredible encounters that the disciples have with Jesus, in many of which we are able to see miracles performed and are given wisdom to live our lives the way God intended for us. In the following passage, Christ offers us the opportunity to receive him not by his actions but rather by his words:
“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.’
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.’”
We can learn so much from St. Peter’s answer in verse 69—he probably received a million brownie points from that one. Peter recognized not only the power of Christ’s words but also the salvific promise that they hold as they are full of “eternal life.”
Lately in my own prayer, Matthew 4:4 has been Scripture-stalking me, popping up almost daily as it articulates Jesus’ words that “man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” The first time I heard this verse, I remember thinking, “Does this mean I can’t eat any more bread?” Upon unpacking it, however, I’m beginning to understand how much I tend to rely on things of this world such as my schedule, relationships, and even food…
The Lord offers us more than we can ever imagine, and this comes from the truth and promise of his words. What would the world look like if we all boldly lived by anchoring ourselves on God’s word? What if we actually made decisions and were motivated by faith and trust in his promises that he clearly gives us in his Scripture?
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
In this month’s song by MercyMe, “Word of God Speak” challenges us to pause our crazy lives and rest in the embrace and gift of his divine Word. Let us all strive to listen to his Word, praying for the graces to believe them and to trust in his promises.
Now go open that Holy Bible, yo.
~You may recognize MercyMe in their latest fame through the movie I Can Only Imagine which focuses on this hit single from 2001. MercyMe was founded by Bart Millard in 1994 after his father passed due to cancer within his first year of college. Their first album Almost There won a Dove Award with “I Can Only Imagine,” and from there the band was awarded many other titles including AMAs, Billboard Awards, and ASCAP Awards. Other top hits of theirs to listen to include “Even If,” “Greater,” and “Grace Got You.”