Are you afraid to step into the light?
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come in to the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
Today’s Grow Daily focuses on verse 46 – as bolded above
I remember a time when I was just a little kid who was afraid of the dark. My parents bought me a night light so I could sleep easy. I think we all know what that’s like to be afraid of the dark as a child. But can you imagine being afraid of the light? It doesn’t sound right, but that’s what the religious leaders are like – afraid of the light.
Some religious leaders believed in Jesus, but they wouldn’t openly testify “for fear of being put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” (John 12:42) They’re afraid. And because they’re afraid, they don’t come into the light. It’s surprising the people who stay in the dark because they’re afraid of the light. And it’s surprising who actually does come to the light. Remember the story of the Samaritan woman? A woman of the night who comes to Jesus in broad daylight. And she comes to see the light – she believes and testifies that Jesus is the Christ (John 4:39)
John loves to use this language of light and darkness to help us see those who truly understand who Jesus is and come to the light, and those who are still in the dark. Through their story, we ourselves are invited to make a decision – to come to the light or to stay in darkness.
Jesus says, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46)
How do you feel about this same light flooding into your life? When you think about it, it really is scary. When you shine a light into the darkness it exposes things. It brings to light the things hidden in darkness. That might be fine when you’re talking about turning a torch on when you can’t see, but it’s pretty scary when you’re talking about the light of Jesus shining into your life. Exposing all the stuff hidden in darkness.
If you believe in Jesus, then you’re set free from the darkness. Jesus has taken it away. It is nailed to the cross. It is finished. Jesus died in order to bring us into his marvelous light so we don’t have to be afraid of the light. And we don’t have to be afraid of the dark things in our life. We can taste the sweetness of forgiveness, and enjoy the experience of being truly known for who you are and also deeply loved. That’s what makes following Jesus so worthwhile. That’s what moves us to keep fighting the dark things in our life. And by his Spirit, helps us to live in the light of what Jesus has done.
Head: Are people today “afraid of the light”? Why do you think people are afraid to come to Jesus?
Heart: How do you feel knowing that Jesus died to bring you out of darkness into his light?
Hands: What are some ways we can all live as “people of light”? How can we do that together?
Heavenly Father, Thank you that the light of Christ has shone into my heart, and that there is nothing hidden from your sight. Thank you that you know me, and you sent your Son Jesus to die and rise again from the grave to forgive me for all the times I’ve loved darkness not light. By your Spirit, please bring to light the things I need to change. Please give me strength to face those things, knowing I’m not alone.
In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
A song to listen to: Christ is Risen