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Be Children of Light

A Lent Reflection for Wednesday, February 28 by Beth Knight, MAPC 


Lectionary reading for 2/28/2024: Psalm 105:1-11; 37-45; Jeremiah 30:12-22; John 12:36-43  

Selected passage for reflection: John 12:36-43


Read

John 12:36-43 The Message

35-36 Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.” 36-40 Jesus said all this, and then went into hiding. All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn’t get it, still wouldn’t trust him. This proved that the prophet Isaiah was right:  God, who believed what we preached? Who recognized God’s arm, outstretched and ready to act?

First they wouldn’t believe, then they couldn’t—again, just as Isaiah said:

Their eyes are blinded,    their hearts are hardened,So that they wouldn’t see with their eyes    and perceive with their hearts,And turn to me, God,    so I could heal them.

41 Isaiah said these things after he got a glimpse of God’s overflowing glory that would pour through the Messiah. 42-43 On the other hand, a considerable number from the ranks of the leaders did believe. But because of the Pharisees, they didn’t come out in the open with it. They were afraid of getting kicked out of the meeting place. When push came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory.


Reflect 

Being out in the open about our belief in the light of Christ is a choice we continue to have in our current culture; just as those who had a choice who actually encountered Jesus 2000+ years ago. It’s interesting to revisit verse 42 of the reading which states “a considerable number did believe… but didn’t come out in the open… they were afraid…”  How compelling and timely verse 42 is. Perhaps we may also notice others or ourselves being afraid to believe, or if we do believe we are afraid to let it show in certain settings. We may admit to ourselves that we sometimes compartmentalize our faith by hiding it and only letting it show when convenient. Are we afraid of the lack of approval of others as those in Jesus’ day were afraid of the Pharisees?  


In various ways and phrases, fear is spoken of in the Bible over 500 times. Often the phrases related to fear are: “do not fear” or “trust in the Lord”. Trust is key to the state of believing. One reason Isaiah said people couldn’t see or believe in this light – this Jesus - is because their hearts were hardened and they did not feel they needed to trust anything different than what they knew. Could that be true for us today? We are such well-informed people who can “google” anything for more understanding or knowledge. Yet the person who allows him/herself to deem spiritual matters as ultimately most important, knows there is vastly “more” beyond our accessible knowledge. And that “more” involves trusting in the light of Christ; plus, the ones who have come before us who actually experienced the light among them, believed in what they saw and then told the world. John 12:36 affirms that when we trust and believe, “Then the light will be within you and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.” Our Quaker friends model this so well, referring to themselves as Children of Light, as they apply and embrace Luke 16:8, John 12:36, Ephesians 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:5.  


Many of us know missionaries who live out being Children of Light as they place their fears at the foot of the cross and go to serve in circumstances outside comfort zones. So, we who choose to believe in Jesus Christ (regardless of where we live or serve) can also remain in the light and avail ourselves of His power and peace. We affirm this each time we say the Lord’s Prayer and close with “for thine is the Kingdom, the power and glory forever, Amen”.  This Lent season, may we consider what fears we might have in living our lives to the fullest in and through Christ and then surrender those fears. May we also consider if we allow approval of others to dampen our boldness in Christ. And whatever Lent brings to our awareness, may we align ourselves anew with Christ, so that we can prepare for Easter and “rise and shine!”; and most importantly to Be Children of Light.


Respond 


Rest 

Let this prayer be a balm upon you: “The light of God surrounds me; The love of God enfolds me; The power of God protects me; The presence of God watches over me. Wherever I am, God is.”   (Prayer for Protection by James Dillet Freeman) 


About the Author 


Beth Knight, MAPC, is an alumna of Asbury Theological Seminary, has held a Certificate in Spiritual Direction for 20 years from Seeking the Spirit, Anchorage, Alaska and is a commissioned ecumenical minister through Federation of Christian Ministries. After 19 years in Alaska, Beth lives now in Clermont, FL. She serves as a Pastoral Counselor, Spiritual Director, pulpit supply and On-line Chaplain. Her favorite thing beyond ministry is being “Nana” to three littles. Instagram @delenabeth_knight or Website: www.bethknightministry.com    


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The prayer you shared was so timely for me today. Thank you!

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