Our favorite verses

In the Christian New Testament, Jesus himself admits that he does not know everything there is to know about God. When his disciples ask him to tell them about the end times, he gives them a harrowing description that includes everything but when. “But about that day or hour no one knows,” he says, “neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” 

Passages like these protect God’s autonomy, but most of us prefer those that grant us special privilege. For Christians, the most potent one is John 14:6, in which Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Here is the bedrock assurance that Christians alone have access to God. But why is this verse more important than one that comes two chapters earlier in John’s Gospel? “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me,” Jesus says in John 12:44. Maybe my hearing is off, but those two verses sound different to me. So why do so many Christians know the former saying but not the latter one? Could it be that our favorite verses are the ones that make us feel most right?

– from “Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others” by Barbara Brown Taylor – HarperOne