Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Light can at times be painful, especially when it is unexpected; we all have likely had an experience of being awakened when someone suddenly turns on the light. Our eyes ache and though we were blind in the dark we are blinded even more by the light. Imagine, then, the shock of Jerusalem’s people when, suddenly, the Light of the World (John 8:12) appears in their midst. No one expected Him; not even His close family members.
Why is it that they did not expect Him? It seems as though it was common knowledge that the religious officials were plotting to kill Jesus; it would be rather rash to enter the city, much less come and start speaking in public. Had the officials changed their mind?
For a moment it seems as though the cloud of doubt in their hearts might break and allow the Light to enter but no: immediately the people try to make sense of it, making a claim that echoes that of Nathanael under the fig tree (John 1:46). “But we know where He is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where He is from.” Jesus begs to differ and reveals to them their lack of faith in God, for if they truly knew that Jesus was not ultimately from Nazareth, then they would know the Father who sent Him in the first place. Because they do not know God, they have no idea where Jesus is from, and thus they remain in darkness.
See how quickly they move to put a bushel basket over this troublesome Light! It is too bright to behold; the Word is too painful to hear. How often do we do the same, turning away from the Light of Christ’s truth when it is revealed to us? How often do we shut our ears when we hear the Truth spoken, choosing instead to pull the blanket of our comfortable life over our head and remain in a spiritual slumber? The hour had not yet come for Jesus to be arrested, “but the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.” (John 4:23)
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light!” (Eph. 5:14) This twilight season of Lent is the perfect time to open our eyes to the dawning light of Christ that will burst into the world on Easter morning. Do not be caught off guard; He is gentle, especially if you are watchful.