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  • Bob Burk

Lent Day 29

Scripture: John 8:12-16 (NRSV)

12 Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ 13 Then the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’ 14 Jesus answered, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.


Today's Meditation: 

Jesus is the light of the world – relieving, encouraging, enlightening, and a guiding star for those who claim to follow Jesus.  In this text, we read that Jesus makes this declaration about Himself to a crowd filled with people with a wide variety of religious persuasions and some with no persuasion at all. People like myself and an atheist friend I recently encountered might have been in such a crowd, with very different responses to what Jesus said.          

I am humbled by the prevenient grace of God. This is described by theologian John Wesley as “willing to be willing to be willing to be willing … (as many ‘willing’s as you need) to be open and changed by the life and testimony of Jesus Christ. Only God knows how many ‘willing’s it took for me to believe in Jesus.

My atheist friend is an ardent, card-carrying (literally) non-believer - not an agnostic, who is simply one who wonders about the existence of God and leaves the question open. In our conversation, it was evident that my friend wanted to argue with me the existence of God. I acknowledged their atheistic beliefs (because belief can be the conviction there is no God, as well as the conviction there is a God), but they were not content to leave me with mine.  They got agitated and loud. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, I tried to remain calm and respectful (to be sure, not always the case).

        My atheist friend does not believe in a God who is the author of light – all kinds, so they do not believe that Jesus is the light of the world. How can something be so clear to me and yet be so opaque, nay, utterly denied by some others?  How can I be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit so that I may help my friend become more open to and someday “see the Light”?  How do I convey that Jesus is the Light of the world in ways that might touch them, pique their curiosity, address a deep hunger for more in life than what they can see, or is convinced that they ”know”?


Prayer:

Thank You, Lord, for the life and testimony of Jesus. I know that it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that I believe Jesus is the light of the world.  Please move in what I think, what I say, how I act so that others may see that same Light and come to You.  Always in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Michelle Prentice-Leslie




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