Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L—Light of the World

Journey through the Gospel of John from A to Z with rookie bloggers who are seeking to honor their good friend, Tina.

Throughout this gospel, John emphasizes themes of light and darkness, and portrays Jesus as the source of spiritual light from whence flows life. These strains are introduced in the Prologue, of course:

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines
in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it —John 1:4-5

Then, in the Temple at the Feast of Tabernacles, perhaps before the grand candelabras that were used at that festival, Jesus proclaims:

"I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me
will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."—John 8:12

The power of this imagery is illustrated in the drama that unfolds in the healing of a man that had been blind from birth.  

The story, told in John Chapter 9, traces the development of faith in the man born blind in parallel with the hardening rejection of the religious leaders.  

From the moment Jesus declares that He is "the Light of the world," the leaders reject His testimony, knowing that His popularity and claims threaten their position.  But their resistance grows as they challenge the authenticity of this healing, and scornfully intimidate and persecute those who support Jesus as they insist that Jesus was "not from God," and "a sinner."

In contrast, the man has nothing to lose by trying out Jesus' strange prescription of washing mud off his blind eyes in the pool of Siloam.  He responds to Jesus first with the obedience that leads to his eyes being opened.  More significant is the gradual opening of his eyes to the One who healed him.  The man's descriptions of Jesus evolve throughout the story.  First, he says his healer is "a man" then "a prophet", then he defends Jesus as "a godly man" that does God's will, before boldly confronting the Pharisees with the fact that Jesus could not have healed him if he weren't from God.

As with others, we see Jesus taking this formerly blind man further into faith. You can sense the man's eagerness to believe everything of Jesus.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"  
He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"  
Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, it is he who is speaking to you."
He said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.  
Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind."  —John 8:35-39

Jesus also addresses the increasing hardness of the Pharisees.
Again, you sense the inclination of their hearts:

Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?"  
Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains. —John 8:40-41

Have you come into the light of Jesus?

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