How dark it must seem to walk in the thick dust of bombed buildings and destroyed lives. How thick would be the despair of cruelty, death and loss. And how desolate feels a future built from rubble and division.
Darkness falls outside our house in the Virginia woods. Thick shadows lengthen across the grass. Little lights dance across the blackness. The merry flickering colors of my grandson’s shoes light spots of joy in the gathering gloom.They contrast with a foreboding feeling from wars and unrest in the world. Through my heart rolls a vague, uneasy mimic of such murkiness. Surely for those in the rocket blasts and bombs, life will forever change.
A long time ago Jesus, stood on soil stained by centuries of blood, jealousy, and unbelief. He spoke to a divided audience. Religious leaders growled in jealousy and outrage. The people gathered for a show of signs. Some came excited to the point of near ecstasy while others arrived dripping in disdain. There were shouts of agreement and voices of discord, and in the streets there was chaos.
Some said, “He’s the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
In the confusion of voices, still others raised hands in disbelief, “He doesn’t come from the right place nor have the right parentage.”
And in that division, rather than a soothing voice, Jesus stoked the lines of spiritual demarcation. Because we forget. He came to bring a different kind of peace.
State of the World
I don’t know how many of you, like me in the last weeks, wake up in the morning and wonder what state the world is in. I wonder what daylight here tells of a night passed in another part of the world where scars map both people and land. Peace lives in a Person, not in this world. Click To Tweet
As I read John 8 this morning, Jesus’ words struck me. Their harshness seemed like glowing swords clashing with the naysayers.
“You are of your father the devil,” He told a group gathered to hear Him. His words split the religious factions and encumbrances which blurred false belief and arrogance.
“If you knew me, you would know my Father also,” Jesus responded to their rebuttals about lineage. (John 8:19 ESV)
“Unless you believe that I am He you will die in your sins.” (Verse 24)
And that was the real crux of His message.
Light of the World
Religious leaders wanted to bring Him down, to discredit Him and so secure their own positions within the religious community. Jesus meant to illuminate the state of their hearts, to reveal the darkness inside void of His light.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8: 12 ESV)
The political foundations of Jesus’ world shook too, and many viewed Him as a new political ruler. His mission as the Prince of Peace offered a way to a righteous God through the sacrifice of a perfect Lamb. Yet, the world with its injustices and cruelty continued.
Jesus’ words were never meant to appease or soften the direct hit of the Light. He meant to illuminate the state of dark hearts so He could transform them with His Light.
Today’s political powder keg brings out a lot of fire and emotion in me. I hurt for those suffering, and brutality angers me. But sometimes I forget that every time the foundations of the world we live in shake, the Prince of Peace still calls people out of its chaos.
Prince of Peace
Peace lives in a Person, not in this world. The greater the conflicts, the more we need the Prince of Peace to reign in our hearts, anchor our prayers, and motivate us to share the Light of Christ.
As the shadows lengthen, and the Virginia night sky darkens, little colored lights streak across the ground. My grandson’s light up shoes dance through our dark yard. They remind me in the darkest night light shines brightest.