Stumbling in the Darkness
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 13 Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. 18 I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” 19 Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
Jesus continues his teaching in the treasury where the religious leaders are listening in and trying to discern what he is saying. They find him frustrating because they don’t really comprehend the depths of his words. Human arguments are used against him but Jesus stands firm for he who knows who he is and where his mission will lead him. He has not come to judge but to bring light and this will transform the world.
This understanding of transformation can be seen in the writing of Gregory of Nazianzus who tells us, “Let us not remain what we are, but let us become what we once were. The Light shines in darkness in this life and in the flesh. It is chased by the darkness but is not overtaken by it. I am referring to the power of the enemy that leaps up in its shamelessness against the visible Adam. But it encounters God and is defeated. Let us put away the darkness so that we may draw near to the Light and may then become perfect Light, the children of perfect Light.” (On the Holy Lights, Oration 39.2) We stumble around in the darkness of this world but it need not overtake us because Jesus as light is victorious. This is what the religious leaders could not understand and instead of following the light of Christ, they continued asking for a formal witness. They stood in the shadow of darkness when a bright light shone before them and refused to accept that he was light.
Traveling for work means that I find myself in many different places at night. That can be troubling when you have to get up and find your way to the restroom in the middle of the night. This happens the older we become, or the more time zones we traverse in a short period of time. Having the furniture arrangement memorized before heading to bed is not always a priority. That leaves the very great reality that I will stumble around in the darkness trying to make my way in unfamiliar territory. The crazy thing is that my cell phone is usually right there beside me on the nightstand and I could quite easily flip on the phone, or the flashlight on the phone. And yet, I find myself tripping over a bed corner or a piece of luggage when I could have had light.
We all have the possibility of light in Christ. The darkness of this world cannot consume the light of Jesus. The light does not shine on our lives to judge but to provide a pathway to wholeness in Christ.
Why stumble around in the darkness when we can be guided by the light of Jesus? We don’t need any further proof of the light because Jesus is, even now, shining his light of grace on the pathway to him. The time has come to stop stumbling in the darkness and walk freely in the light of transformation that will lead us to wholeness and holiness in fellowship with the Triune God.
Lord, may I not stumble in the darkness but follow your light today and always. Amen.
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