The Good Shepherd, even as He forfeits His individual human life (psyche) for the sheep (John 10:11,15, 17), never loses the essential life (zoe) He receives from the Father: “In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live (zo), you also will live (zesete)” (14:19). The life of which John speaks is Christ Himself. This truth is conveyed in a series of “I AM” declarations:
In John, the love of Christians for one another is modeled on the love all of them come to know in Christ. Thus, whereas the mandate in the Synoptic Gospels is to love our neighbors as ourselves (cf. Mark 2:31 et al.), in John’s account we are to love one another more than ourselves. And the basis for this new mandate is not an ethical principle, but a personal example: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I loved you, that you also love one another” (13:34).
Not all men are in the same place with respect to prayer, but all are told to pray, and a like promise attends them all. The difference is in the form of the prayer, not the manner in which God hears the prayer. None of these prayers are refused. To one it will be granted, to another it will be opened, and the third is sure to find.
And this is the reason the confession of Jesus never became, in the eyes of the Church, a challenge to biblical monotheism. In the Orthodox faith Jesus is divine because He pertains to—is included in—the identity of God. Gradually this truth became perfectly clear to a certain fishermen, an improbable tax collector, and some women of their company. Their conviction on the point was a big and difficult step, but it wasn’t complicated.
Think on this: the first Christians—Jews all—who regularly recited Israel’s Sh’ma’, apparently feeling no strain on their strict monotheistic conviction, and without significant dissent among their membership, begin to include a human being, Jesus of Nazareth, in their prescribed and official references to the God revealed in the Burning Bush. How, for heaven’s sake, did this come to be?
When John says the disciples “remembered”—emnesthesan—the Scripture and what Jesus said, surely more is intended than a simple human recollection. This anamnesis, in which the Word of God takes possession of the memory, comes from the activity of the Holy Spirit, of whom Jesus promised,“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring into your memory (hypomnesei) all things I said to you” (14:26).
"We will make man in such a way that We will “grow” on him. We will reveal Ourself to him, not all at once, but bit-by-bit. This will require making time, the experience of sequence and memory, an essential component of his existence. As We diffused our eternal love to the angels in an instant, we will share that love with man through the duration of a lengthy process—well, at least it will seem lengthy to man."
The apostolic word to the world contained a principled premise: the light of God was all one; the redeeming God was also the creating God. When the Christians assembled to pray, then, at the arrest of Peter and John, they first invoked God as Creator. Jesus was not just any sort of Messiah. He was anointed by Israel’s God, the Creator and Ruler of everyone and everything.
Long accustomed to the thesis that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, it is not easy for Americans to think that governments may also speak with a higher authority. Indeed, the “consent of the governed” is so commonly withheld these days that it may pass as part of our birthright.
To see how this “works out,” let us return to the story of the centurion pleading on behalf of his servant. If we compare the differing accounts of this event in Matthew and Luke, we first observe that Matthew’s is the shorter and simpler version. In this account the centurion simply goes to Jesus, requesting that the Lord speak the commanding word, so that the servant will be healed.
Let us consider what it means that Jesus life was made a ransom “for many.” With respect to this latter expression, its meaning in Mark 10:45 must take into account the very similar words pronounced by Jesus at the consecration of the Eucharistic cup during his final Seder:
Among the imperatives of the Christian moral life, I wonder if any is the occasion of more bewilderment than the call to be humble. This impression arises not only from my own experience of the problem but also from the many times other Christians have asked me, “How can I learn humility?”