Cross sculpture on campus



Light Shining in Darkness

Lent 2022

Read John 12:37-50

37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”

41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

Our readings are nearing the end of Jesus’ public ministry. His message remains consistent: he has come to save the world, to bring all people out of darkness into his saving light. Yet not all receive this. Some saw signs and refused to believe, so God’s word sealed them in their rejection. Others believed but with a secret faith that would not confess Christ publicly. They seem to love the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Why does faith make its way into the lives of some but not others? Honest reflection shows that we are just as sinful as unbelievers. So why has faith taken root in us? Searching our own hearts, we find that we also seek and crave the praise of others. But we rarely consider that our desires may be at odds with seeking the praise of God.

This short section of Scripture demonstrates how precious and mysterious the gift of faith really is. The Holy Spirit calls us with the gospel to receive God’s grace in humility. God’s word reminds us to consider how needless the praise of people is when, in Christ, we have already received praise and glory from God himself.

Finally, we are encouraged to lives of persistence as we talk with those who do not yet believe, because his light still shines and rescues from darkness.

Prayer: Gracious Savior, I sin against you daily, and am prone to wander from your grace. Forgive me. Remove all doubt and unbelief from my heart. Strengthen me to humbly shine the light of your Gospel. Amen.

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