16 February 2024John 12:27-36a
Jesus said to them, ‘The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’ (vs 35-36)
Today John the Evangelist in his gospel provides us with deep insights into the inner life of Jesus. It’s one of the reasons he is identified as being John who, with his brother James, was one of the earliest disciples to be called by Jesus. He is referred to as the disciple Jesus loved.
Here John provides a poignant glimpse into Jesus’ inner life as Jesus comes to terms with the horrific death (crucifixion) to which he is called. Who can imagine what this was like for him, the one who was fully human, subject to all the pain and fear that human experience brings, who knew the inevitable end of his mission?
It is impossible to overstate the poignancy of this moment in Jesus’ ministry. His soul was troubled. No wonder. A purely human response might have been terror, or dread, possibly tempered with the hope that he might be able to escape it. But Jesus knows with the certainty of divine knowledge what must happen. Worse than the inevitable pain and suffering, he knows he will be separated from God. He will take a plunge into the abyss of sin and experience isolation from God. Jesus knows what is coming, yet he commits himself to his mission.
It would be easy to dismiss the suffering of Jesus. If he were God, human suffering should be no problem, should it? The gospel writers though are quite clear. What Jesus committed himself to, for the sake of the whole of humanity, was the ultimate act of sacrifice. And it cost Jesus everything. But he did what was needed to put right the wrongs of history and repair the relationship between us and God that had been fractured since the first human act of rebellion. No wonder Jesus’ soul was troubled. Thank God, though because today we can live as children of the light, as Jesus (the 'light of the world') endured darkness for the love of us.
- Lent has always been a time for reflecting on the journey that led Jesus to be crucified. It has also been a time when people prepared for baptism on Easter Day. Take some time to read through today’s passage. Imagine yourself as one of the disciples in the crowd. You’ve been travelling with Jesus for a while now, what are you thinking? What do you find most challenging in his words?
Lord Jesus Christ, today we remember your journey towards the cross. Two thousand years have passed, yet we are still moved by the compassion, courage and commitment you showed. As we dwell on these gospel words today, help us to renew our commitment to the kingdom of God you came to establish. As we thank you for the darkness you endured for us. May we believe in the light, and become children of light as you intended. Amen.