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God’s Authority Over Creation
Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Jesus answered the Jews: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but he also called God his own Father, making himself equal to God. Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself. And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation. I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, help me understand your holy word and contemplate its meaning in my life. Plant your word deeply in my heart and help me to be obedient to it.
- God’s Work, God’s Sabbath: Just what is the Father’s work? Jesus implies that God the Father is at work continually: he is “at work until now.” God is constantly sustaining all life, and this work never ceases: “…the Lord is the one who sustains me” (Psalm 54:4). Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity and therefore has a role in sustaining all of creation as it was spoken by God the Father through him, the Word made flesh: “[…God the Father] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:2-3). Jesus healed on the Sabbath because healing is one aspect of God’s work of caring for his creation. God the Father created the Sabbath on the seventh day (cf. Genesis 2:3). He blessed it and made it holy through his word, as he did the rest of creation. The Sabbath is his and he has authority over it, which he has given to the Son. In fact, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath”(Luke 6:5).
- Perfect Obedience: A Christian paradox is that even though Jesus is God and holds the same authority as God the Father, he does not seek to do his own will, but only the Father’s will. He acts with perfect obedience, even unto death: “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). Being obedient to the Father’s will is necessary for all Christians: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). We can imitate Jesus’ obedience by spending time in silent prayer to hear and discern the Father’s will for us. Then we can sing with David, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). When we are obedient, we demonstrate our love for God: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience to God’s will also brings us peace. French bishop and theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet wrote, “The divine will gives us repose through our own actions and when we do what is required of us.” In other words, when we do what God wills in our lives, we can be at peace, resting in the knowledge that we are being obedient to his plan—he who always wills what is good for us and others.
- Christ’s Authority: Jesus Christ has authority over all of God’s creation as the second person of the Holy Trinity. He has been given authority to heal and cast out demons. God the Father has given him authority as the just judge of all creation. The Catechism teaches, “Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as Redeemer of the world. He ‘acquired’ this right by his cross” (CCC 679). It was precisely by his obedience to the cross that he received the right to be our judge. Jesus also has been given authority over life itself. God is the author of all human life. “Author” is the root word of “authority.” The one who creates a story is the one who owns it; he or she is the author. God is our author; ergo, he holds ultimate authority over us. In fact, God the Father shares all his authority over creation with the Son. Jesus told his Apostles after his Resurrection, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). The Father “raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:20-23).
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, my Lord and King, I submit myself to your holy will. I am sorry for the times when I have been disobedient to you or rebelled against your authority. I sanctify you as Lord of my heart (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). Help me to listen to and become more obedient to what you are calling me to do for you each day.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will determine a specific way that I can grow in obedience to your holy will.
For Further Reflection: Watch this video from Khan Academy that describes the details of Michelangelo’s masterpiece on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel, The Last Judgment.
Carey Boyzuck is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and lay member of Regnum Christi. She blogs at www.word-life-light.com.