When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am; And that I do nothing of myself; what the Father has taught me is what I preach; he who sent me is with me and has not left me to myself, for I always do what pleases him.
Jesus said this after he was confronted with a woman caught in adultery. The Jews wanted to stone her but Jesus spoke and her life was spared. The Jews were not happy with this because the incident made them look bad to the people. So they came to Jesus and challenged him. And this was one of the strongest testimony of Jesus about himself.
Jesus tells his accusers that the only way to know him completely is to lift him up. We normally associate this with lifting him up on the cross. However, the original word used in John's gospel means to exalt. With this in mind, we see that we can only understand who Jesus is if we exalt him.
To exalt Jesus means to make him our Lord. Some claim that you are saved if you just say that Jesus is Lord. But for me, I think there is more to this. Calling Jesus as Lord means that we surrender our lives to him and that it is now he who controls our lives. It goes deeper than just doing good works, and certainly goes deeper than just telling others that Jesus is Lord.
Exalting Jesus means to give up our desire to live our lives according to what we think is right. It is to live the life that the Father wants us to live as revealed to us through Jesus. Making him Lord is not easy because we all have a tendency to do things according to what WE perceive. Making him Lord means that we do things according to what HE tells us. It is a struggle and requires a lot of prayer and discernment. But it is possible because of the Spirit that Jesus gives us.
To further appreciate this, we must remember that in his earthly life, Jesus was in every way a human being, this despite of his divinity. (How this is possible, I do not know nor does any human being). Being fully human, he too experienced all the difficulties we are experiencing now. And yet, despite all these “baggages” that he had to carry, Jesus does nothing of himself. He preaches what he learned from the Father. And his life is centered towards pleasing the Father. And thisis also the goal of our lives: to please the Father.
For one, we have to see things through the eyes of God. Situations can come to us and when we see them through our eyes, we tend to act based on our intellect. But if we see them through the eyes of God, then we will have the right perspective and respond according to Gods will. Reality is seen through the eyes of God. What we see is virtual reality.
So comes the question: how then can we see through Gods eyes? The answer here is discernment. Without discernment, we cannot know the will of God. In his book on prayer, "Weeds Among the Wheat", Fr. Thomas Greene said that discernment is the dividing line between prayer and action. Prayer leads to discernment and discernment leads to action based on the discernment.
During prayer, we come to God in humility and surrender ourselves and our situation to him. We let him take charge and commit ourselves to doing what he wants. Without humility there is no surrender. Without surrender, discernment is not possible. And without discernment AND action based on discernment Jesus cannot be Lord of our lives. And if Jesus is not Lord of our lives, then holiness is not possible.
As a summary, I want to quote this from Matthew 19:17-21. When a rich young man came to Jesus, he asked Jesus what he has to do to possess eternal life. Jesus said, “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments... If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor and ... come, follow me.” Note that to just enter life, all we have to do is keep the commandments. But to be perfect, to live the life to the fullest, to please God, we have to detach ourselves from everything we have and follow Jesus.
May God give us the grace to see things through his eyes so that we may have to courage to do his will through Jesus our Lord.