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Lent 2022

Read John 8:12-30

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, 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 people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 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.” 20 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.

21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

At first glance, Jesus calling himself the light of the world seems to come out of the blue, but it actually fits very well into the context of this reading. The people are still in the middle of the festival celebrations. At the temple, in the court of women, stood giant candelabras that were approximately 75 feet tall. They were so tall and the light so great that when they were lit each night they would shine for all in the city to see. The light recalled the presence of God who guided Israel by a pillar of fire at night. In this light, the people would sing, dance and rejoice, looking forward to the Messiah who was to come.

There in the temple, in the court of women, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” He goes even further by pointing to Old Testament Scriptures that specifically referenced light in the context of the coming Messiah. Jesus is our light, the one come from the Father. He shines into the darkness of this world and our lives in order to illuminate us with the hope that brings great rejoicing, dancing, and singing. The God who dwells in unapproachable light has come into the world. “In Him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God.”1

Prayer: Lord, cast your bright light upon my life that I may walk in the light of your truth, and, in the end, be brought into the light of everlasting life. Amen.

1 Refrain from the hymn “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light,” Kathleen Thomerson, 1970.

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