John 12, 35-36
Something to read
Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
King James Version
Jesus said to them, 'The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.'
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
We are called to be people of light, and to avoid the darkness. In the reading today Jesus encourages His followers to be people who walked in the light and believed in the light. Jesus now moves on towards His journey culminating in Calvary, but He makes a final appeal to the unbelieving Jews that the light in their midst they must follow.
Within this appeal is also a stark warning: by walking in darkness they will not know where they are going. The theme of light and darkness and the contrast between both has been prevalent throughout John's Gospel (1:4-9, 3:19-21, 8:12, 9:4-5).
The appeal is simple: chose now to follow Jesus whilst He is amongst you, as it will become no easier once He has departed, when, metaphorically speaking, you will be in the dark. We have the benefit of seeing the full gospel story and knowing the larger biblical narrative, but for these first century Jews the warning was timely.
Whether any responded we do not know, and the end of the reading tells us only that Jesus departed and hid from them. In many ways it leaves us in the dark about what happened next to many of those listening to Jesus' words.
It is difficult for us to understand exactly the emotions at work; though he had done many signs amongst them they still did not believe (v37). When reading the gospels it is always worth stepping back to ask ourselves what of my previous reading am I bringing to my understanding?
It is good to have a full knowledge of all scripture, but you may find it useful to think what information is likely known up till this point for those in first century Jerusalem.
Something to do
If you have the time to set aside today remind yourself of how far you have come in journey with Christ. We have much to be grateful for, but in the speed of life and the haste in which day follows day we can sometimes lose track of exactly how our relationship with God has evolved.
Perhaps write a few things down, with the date, so that you can be reminded both today and in the future when you reflect again. There will be much to give thanks for, much to ponder, and much in which we can say "I was in the dark, but Jesus showed me the light".
Something to pray
Lord Jesus Christ, You are the God of light. By Your glory I see illuminated the good things of creation. May Your light shine in me that I both radiate to others your goodness and that I may be constantly in awe of the work You have done in me. Where there is darkness in my heart Lord please shed light. Where there is despair bring hope. You are the light of the world. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.
Today's contributor is Russell Winfield, a minister training at Westminster College, Cambridge.