The four chapters we read today are very meaningful and need to be read slowly so that we can take in their full meaning. The last two chapters of John provide us with John’s account of the resurrection and the events that followed. He and Peter ran to the tomb and Peter entered the empty tomb and “saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple (John), who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed …” (20:4-8). At the end of the chapter John writes, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”. Believing? We show whether we have real belief by our esultant actions.
Our first reading showed us the faith of King Jehoshaphat when his nation faced attack by a great army. His approach to God is a great example for us. In our second reading we saw the faith and actions of Daniel in the events which happened after God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a remarkable dream. God gives Daniel the insight into the meaning of the huge multi-metalled image that the King saw in his God-given dream.
The meaning of the component parts of the image are intriguing and have apparently remained unchanged since the first Century. What is important is how the dream points to the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom on earth, as Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar: “in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever” (2:44). The kingdoms, or nations, of our world are to be “broken in pieces” and formed into a kingdom that will stand forever! And so, as John told us and all his readers, he wrote his account so “that by believing you may have life” in this kingdom.