Spiritually we are in darkness until God reveals himselfPublished 9:20am Friday, July 19, 2013
By the Rev. Jim Rushton
First Lutheran Church. Glenville
Today we mediate on the passage from the ninth chapter of the gospel of John, which portrays Jesus as being the light of the world. The image of light is quite graphic and shares a primary place in scripture. There is darkness until God says, “Let there be light.” But the light of which we speak is much deeper than mere illumination. Spiritually we grope in the darkness of our fear and ignorance until God reveals to us his presence and purpose among us.
We live in a cause and effect world today. And our place in life, some people say, is what we deserve. The disciples also shared this opinion when they asked Jesus the question, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The disciples were trying to identify the cause of this man’s problem, while Jesus maintained that there was a purpose in it.
Jesus does not wish us to wallow in prejudice, nor to be bogged down by confusion. Instead, Jesus has come to open the eyes of unbelief, so that we may truly perceive his loving purpose for our lives. Jesus has not come to burden our lives, but to liberate them.
Yes, Jesus reveals what God is like. He is the help of the helpless and the hope of the hopeless. God does not operate by cause and effect. If he did, what sinner would ever be forgiven? During the darkness of the crucifixion Jesus cries, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” With only nine words, God reveals the atoning work of Christ. After being arrested under false pretenses, tried under the most illegal circumstances and tortured by the hands of malicious, hateful people, Jesus takes our breath away as he prays for sinful people.
When Jesus had every reason for calling down the judgement of God upon the most rebellious people, he does not. In fact he voices the very opposite! Forgiveness is the quenching of our thirst for the kingdom of God. Forgiveness is the antidote for the guilt-ridden. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door that leads from darkness to light.
If we wish to see what God is like, look to Scripture. Look to the son of God. We celebrate the angel’s message to Joseph, “And you shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sin.”
God’s richest blessings.