5: 30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge*; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. 33 You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth.

 34 Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.

*nb Addendum on judgment this afternoon

Jesus never forces himself upon anyone. He does not try to convince the religious leaders of his day that he is the “Son of God”. He only urges them to follow the truth they already know and open their hearts to the evidence that is before them.

The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf.

Christian faith is never intended to be a contradiction of our human experience. We are called to pay attention to the realities of life we encounter. The promise is that, if we look carefully enough and listen attentively enough, what we see and what we hear will bring us into an awareness of that Presence for which our hearts long. Life ultimately verifies life. Love is the final validation of love.

In chapter 63 of his epic poem “Jerusalem” the English mystic poet William Blake wrote:

I give you the end of a golden string;

  Only wind it into a ball,

It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,

  Built in Jerusalem’s wall

Jesus is urging the Scribes and the Pharisees to take “the end” of the “golden string” of their own tradition; follow where it leads; “wind it into a ball”. If they are willing to follow the truth that was transmitted in John the Baptist and carried in all the spiritual teaching of Judaism leading up to John and then to Jesus, they will come “in at Heaven’s gate”. They will uncover the truth they do not even know they are seeking. Their hearts will open to the presence and the work of God in all of life.

What are the “golden strings” that I can find that will help me find my way in “at Heaven’s Gate”?