Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let there be light, Conclusion

  So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 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.”  They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father.  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.  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.”  As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

We're concluding our study of this passage today. We've seen in the previous verses that they Pharisees are operating from a position of blindness. They couldn't see the truth of Jesus, and His relationship with the Father. I guess they thought that Jesus "had a lot of nerve" to speak to them the way He did! So they ask Him, "Who are you?" In their minds, they were probably wanting to ask, "Why do you think you can speak to us that way?"
But Jesus keeps speaking to them graciously, compassionately; He tells them that He's been sent by the Father. And He tells them again of His mission. That He's been sent into the world with a message for everyone, including these leaders who are so full of their own importance and self-righteousness.

And that He is going to forfeit His life. He's going to give it up, voluntarily.
The Son of Man, He said, was going to be lifted up. The Pharisees don't "get" this part, but we do. We know that He was speaking about being lifted up on the cross.
The cross . . . remember the old hymn, "At the Cross"? At the cross is where we find the Lord of glory, offering Himself for our sins. We find the Redeemer, the One who can wash away all of our sins; we find the One who has the authority to forgive those sins.
In the light of the current events, where Russia's president Putin is asserting himself militarily over former members of the Soviet Union, it's ironic to read this excerpt from Peggy Noonan's book, When Character was King:
Last summer (2000) when Vladimir Putin met with George W. Bush, the Russian president shared a personal story that our chief executive hasn’t forgotten. When Putin was young, his mother gave him a cross to wear around his neck. Although he initially hid it in a jewelry case, he eventually decided to wear it. He even had it blessed while on a trip to Jerusalem. It became a treasured symbol of a mother’s love and her cherished faith. When the cross turned up missing following a house fire, Putin was greatly disturbed. He dispatched an employee to sift through the charred remains of the building to try and find it. After an exhaustive search, the employee reported to Putin and held out a closed hand. He opened it and revealed the prized cross.
Putin told Bush: "It was as if something meant for me to have the cross."
To which the President said, "Mr. Putin, that’s what it’s all about - that’s THE story of the cross."
So I believe we should ask ourselves, do we have that cross? Are we walking in His light? Are we like the ones in the last verse above, the "many who believed on Him"?  Or are we like the Pharisees, and reject His authority over our lives? If we follow the path of the Pharisees, we must die for our sins. If we follow the path of those who believed Him, we will walk in the light and experience eternal life. 
That light will not only expose our sins and imperfections, but it will give us hope and confidence as we trust in Him.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World,” He was stating that He was God in the flesh, the Word who made His dwelling among us.
We are either for or against Jesus, there is no middle, so we will either be with Jesus for eternity, or forever separated from Him.
He gave up His life for us on the cross; we were meant to have that cross, the symbol of our forgiveness and redemption; so that we would walk in His light.
Thank you, Jesus!

1 comment:

Belinda said...

The story about Putin reminded me of an episode in my past. I may have shared it here before, and if so please forgive me.

My father was a very dedicated Christian. I adored him and respected his many years of experience and wisdom. Once, he noticed I was wearing a cross necklace and shared with me that his pastor preached that the cross was an ugly thing, not to be honored or worn as adornment because it represented the horrific death of Jesus.

In a very loving and respectful way, I explained that I felt just the opposite. The cross is a beautiful symbol of God loving me so much, he sent Jesus to death for me. And that Jesus loved me so much, he stood in my place to take my punishment. I love the cross, it's beautiful to me and I wear it to show the world how I feel about Christ.

For one of the very few times I can ever remember, my father learned something from me.

I doubt it, but I would hope that even though Putin seems to be an unbeliever and acts that way, maybe in his heart of hearts, he really is and is just out of God's will. Not so different from a lot of our "leaders"...