Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter

(Acts 5:27-33; John 3:31-36)

Shakespeare professors sometimes test students by having them identify the play, the speaker, and the circumstances of isolated lines. The gospel today tests readers in much the same way.

The passage follows the famous quotation of John the Baptist that Jesus must increase while he must decrease. Thus, this John may be the intended speaker. But the words themselves are very similar to Jesus’ in his dialogue with Nicodemus at the beginning of John 3. It could be that somehow they came unmoored from their original setting and found their way to the end of the chapter. The translators of the New American Bible evidently think that the words most likely belong to the evangelist himself as they are not framed in quotation marks.

In any case the words summarize what has been said of Jesus to this point in the gospel. He is from God and has come into the world to give life to those who accepts his testimony. Reading these words, we should become anxious to learn the full testimony given in the remaining chapters.