Gaining Perspective in the PresenceSep 21, 2022
Blog by Alan Fadling
In Christ, God shines a light on reality. I love how the Gospel of John highlights this for us:
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”
Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” (John 8:12-18)
Jesus is the one who brings light to the whole world. This is a remarkable claim that sounds scandalous in our pluralistic, “everybody is right” world. People can’t stand having someone else even think they are wrong, let alone say so out loud. Tolerance can end up meaning that nothing is true beyond an individual’s opinion. But if you believe Jesus and follow him, you remain in his light and stay out of the darkness.
It's good for me to trust more deeply that Jesus is my light today. He will show me what I need to see. He will enlighten my mind and heart as I do my work. He will show me the way forward in my life, my relationships, and my tasks throughout this day. I am not alone in the dark. I am companioned in the light of Christ.
The Pharisees loved technicalities. They loved having control of intricate (but irrelevant) rules that gave them power and importance. Technically, a person could not testify as their own witness—as far as that goes, they are correct. But Jesus says that the reason his testimony about himself is true is because he actually knows the full context of everything he is saying. He doesn’t just have a “point of view.” He has the whole view by the power of God’s Spirit.
These Pharisees in John 8 are the ones who don’t have what they need. They don’t grasp what they need to know in order to rightly assess Jesus’ words. In the end, Jesus claims that he is not alone in his testimony. The Father is saying the same thing as Jesus because Jesus is speaking in union with the Father—another seemingly scandalous statement that is absolutely true.
“Lord Jesus, you are not just an idea in my life today. You are a real presence. As I enter this day, you are with me. You are really here. I cannot see you in the light of the morning, but I can witness you in the real light of your presence. Enlighten my eyes, my mind, my heart in every way I am able to perceive you today. I welcome you—but I do that because you have already welcomed me. Amen.”
- In what ways have you noticed the presence of Jesus with you lately? How do you want to ask him to make himself known in your experience these days?