Tillich and Belief
Came across this passage while reading Tillich's sermons in his book The New Being. I've noticed that he has a way of rendering John 12:44-50 in ways I had never considered.
"He who believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me.." These words follow a bitter complaint of the evangelist about the unbelief and half belief of the people and their leaders.
"Jesus cried out.." He is making an almost desperate effort to be understood. And what he cries out is that believing in him means not believing in him. The argument of the unbelievers was and is...it is impossible to believe in Jesus as Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus declares "This argument is valid. If people are asked to believe in me, they should not do so. But they are not asked any such thing! They are asked to believe in Him who sent me, who is greater than I..I have not spoken on my own authority."
..Jesus is neither an authority nor an object of faith. None of his superior qualities..make him an object of faith. On this basis..he does not judge anyone. If he did, he would be a tyrant who imposes..thus destroying instead of saving..