Scripture: John 8:12-19
Key verse: (12) “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Reflection: As we close this year where do your thoughts go? Do you look ahead to the new year? Are you still reflecting on the past? Or perhaps you are just trying to get through the day. For many of us, this has been a dark year, a year shadowed by COVID-19 and all kinds of unrest. And yet, our scripture reading for today reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world, promising that we will never walk in darkness. These are not just lofty words, this is not an empty promise, but this is a promise of God’s, who became flesh to live among us so that we would never walk in darkness.
Reading this text, the word in really caught my attention. Looking up the Greek, the word for “in” can mean many things, including “within the limits of some space” and “in the person, soul, or thought of anyone”. The word in is a word that rests and resides, it places a person, thought, or thing firmly in a particular place. Jesus’ promise that we will not walk in darkness, is a promise that we will not reside in darkness forever, that darkness will not consume us, or take up residence in or among us. God came into this world to keep this promise.
Reading between the lines, this text could also offer that while we will never walk in darkness, we may have to walk through darkness. In these winter months if you take walks after dinner, I’m sure you’ve walked through darkness. Perhaps holding a flashlight to guide your way, you are embraced by the warmth of the light immediately around you, and with each step you are walking not in darkness, but through it.
I imagine this is most closely what Jesus is talking about, not a promise that our days will never have shadows of fear, pain, or sadness, but that in those seasons of darkness we have the light of Christ to help us get through those days. Christ is our guiding light as he knows where he has come from and where he is going, may we follow in the light.
Prayer: Holy God, as we turn from one year to another, we give you thanks that you are a constant guide in our life. By your Spirit surround, uphold, and nurture us that we might follow faithfully. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
YEAR IN THE BIBLE
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[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved]