Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
“Lord, who has believed our message,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,
“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.”
Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.
Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”
Reflection – Brandon Hudson
It would be difficult to have a clearer statement of the intent of Jesus than the one given here: “…for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” Thanks be to God!
At the same time, it would be difficult to have a clearer statement of the state of human condition than the one that comes shortly before: “…for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.” When I read that statement, I have a bit harder time saying Thanks be to God.
But, as I see the way that grace works, I know that as true as the statement about humanity can be about the state in which our souls are often found, my own quest for vainglory is overwhelmed by the intention and work of Jesus.
In John’s gospel, themes of light and darkness play a central role. There is a constant call for those who wish to follow Jesus to move from darkness into light, to cast off the shadow in which we seek to hide our brokenness and accept the Way and love of the God who came to save.
Sometimes, stepping into the light can be very hard. We can get accustomed to living in the darkness. The harshness of light can be overwhelming as we squint and go day blind for a few moments. And yet, that which is brought into the light is healed. Those sins which are named lose their power, by God’s grace. The cracks in our armor that we tried to hide, when exposed to the Light, become the very means by which God’s love can deeply enter our beings.
On this journey, may we step into the light together. May we be vulnerable, revealing our true selves and trusting the promise of God that we do not bring our vulnerability into the light to find judgment, but to find salvation. May we as a community be the kind of place that holds space for the brokenness in one another, knowing that our real selves, the scarred and broken messes we try to hide, are exactly the selves that belong to God and one another.