Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. The Pharisees then said to him, “You are bearing witness to yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I have come and where I am going, but you do not know where I come or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me.” They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also.” These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. (John 8: 12-20)
The French philosopher, Blaise Paschal, wrote:” In faith there is enough light for those who wish to believe and enough shadow to blind those who do not. “
And that brings us to consider a fundamental truth. Light is one thing, faith is another.
The light Jesus came to give is the light of God’s revelation – his beauty, truth, wisdom, and power. God’s light exposes the darkness of sin which is often hidden and sometimes even unknown to us. His light brings healing, pardon, and restoration. We need God’s penetrating light to shine into our innermost being so he can remove wrong patterns of thoughts, attitudes, and hurtful desires.
The question that stands before us is what will we do with the light which God gives? What shall we see? The gospel points to what we should be looking for: the presence of God in our lives and in our world.
That’s where faith comes in. Because an inherent part of those that are followers of Christ is that we try every day to live His word. We can be evaluated on the thoughts in our minds, the words we use, the actions we take, the very way we live our lives.
Believers are always on the look-out to see signs of that kingdom, signs of God’s presence in our world. Because Christians are looking for those signs, their lives are characterized by joy and hope.
Each time that we see a sign of God’s presence, we rejoice. Each time medical science takes another step forward, we rejoice because we recognize that it is God’s action and power directing that development. Each time warring nations put down their arms and establish peace, we celebrate because we see that action as one step closer to God’s kingdom. Every time that we survive a difficult period in our marriage, recognize a family member has moved towards reconciliation, or learn that our child or our grandchild is born healthy and safe, we celebrate. We see in all of these events the signs of God establishing the kingdom.
In addition to that joy, we are also people of hope, because when evil strikes, we do not give up. When innocent children die of a terrible disease, when thousands of people are killed in war, when greed and selfishness characterize our culture, we do not stop believing that God is present. Instead, we hope that God is active in a way that we cannot yet perceive.
All of these evils that are present in our world do not lead us to despair but to action. We give our energies towards building a more peaceful and just world. When someone we love is struck with cancer, when our marriage ends, when someone we trust betrays us, we continue to hope that God will still save us. We look forward to a future in which God’s action and love will become clear.
Other people will look at the blessings of life and the heartbreaks of life and interpret them differently. It is only with the gift of faith and our willingness to accept it that we can see God’s action among us.
We need to open our eyes to the light around us, not to be blinded, but to see—to see God’s presence here among us and in the events of our world and then to live as Christ’s disciples in the joy and in the hope that only faith can bring.
Prayer of The Day
“O gracious and Holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive you, diligence to seek you, patience to wait for you, eyes to behold you, a heart to meditate upon you, and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Prayer of Benedict of Nursia, 480-547 AD)”)
The light which the Lord Jesus offers produces in us abundant life and great fruitfulness. Just as natural life depends on light for energy, warmth, and growth (without it nothing could live or grow), so the light of God’s kingdom power produce in us new life in the Holy Spirit and the abundant fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control (Galatians 5:22,23). The light which the Lord Jesus gives enables us to walk freely and confidently without stumbling in the darkness of sin, ignorance, and unbelief. His light warms our heart to the truth of God’s love and it opens our eyes to recognize the reality of God’s kingdom at work within us. Do you walk confidently in the light of God’s truth and love?