The Chaplain's Corner
Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day,
he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him."
(John 11:9-10 ESV)
How often have you asked out of frustration or for being lost, "Now what?! What do I do? Where do I go? Which way do I turn?"All too often we are long on indecision and short on clarity.
We have too many questions and not enough answers. It is a problem that plagues us all to the point where many, if not all, people at one time or another,
are left not knowing their next step let alone their purpose.
This passage of scripture quoting Jesus from the Gospel of John is tucked away in the narrative leading up to the resurrection of Lazarus.
Jesus has recently left Jerusalem after being literally run-out of the temple by an angry mob. He had been teaching near the eastern gate and Solomon's Portico,
a large covered porch supported by rows of double columns. It is from here that John records that,
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained.
(John 10:40 ESV).
Any study of the Bible should include a study of the places and paths travelled by the people of the day. If you look at a map of the eastern side of the old city,
you will find a pair of roads that lead east, one of which leads to Bethany and the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. John doesn't mention stopping off in Bethany while
on the way to the River Jordan, but one has to wonder if they did. Scripture hints at this visit as the sisters, "sent to him, saying 'Lord, he whom you love is ill.'"
(John 11:3 ESV)
One has to wonder, how did Mary and Martha know where to find Jesus? Could it be that He had stopped there on the way to the river?
Did Jesus tell the sisters where He and the twelve were going? Certainly Jesus knew what was about to happen or that He was to, at least, make sure that the sisters knew where to find him?
No matter what may have taken place, the sisters did find Jesus and sent Him word on the grave state of their little brother Lazarus.
"Let us go to Judea again." (John 11:7 ESV)
"I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life." (John 8:12)
Can we be such a light in a dark world? When we've finished grieving and being that sympathetic ear, can we make a difference?
Is there anything we can do as everyday people to poke holes in darkness?
Keep in mind that before their trek to the Jordan, an angry mob at the temple had tried to sieze Jesus and arrest Him for blasphemy.
How many times had they tried to take Him by force to stone Him? Yet once again it was time to pack-up and head west once again to Judea,
8 The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?"
Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."
(John 11:8-10 ESV)
Okay, that response must have certainly confounded the twelve! They are worried about going back to Jerusalem for fear of being taken and or
killed; and Jesus starts talking about how many hours in the day? Really?!
Let's dig a little deeper and you will see where the Rabbi is coming from,
Give glory to the LORD your God before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains,
and while you look for light he turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness.
(Jeremiah 13:16 ESV)
If we are thinking clearly with our hearts we will see Jesus is not talking as much about the hours of light in the day as He
is talking about the Spirit that lights our heart. Our heart is the temple in which the Holy Spirit shines forth and gives light to our eye.
A light not of our own but shown from deep within that lights our way day and night. Walking by that light requires humility and a constant
visitation to the heart of worship. Is it enough that we make sure that we get our “G-d time” every day? Or should we make sure He is at the very heart of every day!
Think of it this way, where do you see Jesus fitting into your day? Where does He fit into your family? Is He an item on a list of things
to get done or is He at the heart, the very centre of this day in your life? Does Jesus occupy a place in your family standing beside you, your spouse,
your children? Or is your life and your family arrayed around Him, encircling and facing Jesus daily with Him being at the centre of your life?
Jesus belongs at the centre of your life because He is the light! He is the lamp unto your feet and the One who lights the way when darkness seems so deep.
Walking by the light of His omnipotent presence in faith and praise gives glory to the One who, though He brings darkness to the world, you will
walk sure footed by the light rooted in faith, hope and love.
The heart of true worship is setting aside all the things that are the darkness of self and fixing our eyes on the LORD. He alone
is the light and fills the night making the enveloping dark retreat. For when have you ever seen darkness extinguish the light? Surely it has never put it out!
Neither shall His light be put out. It shall never be extinguished. It shall never be quenched. Neither then may the light within us be put out.
If we walk by the light of our own eyes, we see dimly by the light of day. At the gathering darkness of sunset we see but for a time until there is
no light to see by. We stumble, we fall, we get lost and we grow fearful and lament for our inablity to see through the black. How limited we are by our senses.
But if we walk by the light that shines from within and heed all that the LORD has given us by wisdom, how sure footed we will walk indeed!
"Yet wisdom is justified by all her children."
(Luke 7:35 ESV)
Let's return to the opening quote of scripture. Jesus tells us,
10 "But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."
(John 11:10 ESV)
Knowing then that these words are true, is not then the converse true?
Anyone who walks in the light, walks in confidence, because the light is in him.
This light, is spiritual light that shines forth from none other than G-d's Holy Spirit. His light is the very light that we need to see by day and night!
Who is it that set the lesser light and the stars in the sky? Do not even they bring forth speech and light our way?
(See Genesis 1:14-18 & Psalm 19:1-3) Even they point us to the inward light! The light by which we are taught is the light by which we have life.
By trusting in the light and walking in the light we are assured a path that, although it be rocky and not without trial, is the path that was walked by
the One who knows every twist, every turn, every pebble, every mire, every thorn, every brook, every mountain and every plain that you will encounter along the way. The light is the voice of wisdom and the place of true worship; for it would not be the dwelling place of the living G-d had it not been given to Him first by you.
Jesus so often spoke in riddles. To some it was nonsense, but to others it was life itself. Those who hunger for truth are blessed to find it in Christ.
Those who find imagined comfort in shade are content in the shadows. Sin hides from human eyes in the dark but bears a heavy toll on the human heart.
Humbly giving, or re-dedicating, your heart to the LORD is the beginning of wisdom for as surely as the sun shines, so too will His Holy Spirit
shine forth brilliantly and radiantly within you in what amounts to a new Holy of Holies draped by a curtain of flesh and housed in a vessel known
as the heart of your living soul.
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."
Chapain Faulkner Friday October 6, 2017