3/22/2013 Sabol Rodgers (C’16)
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-13
John 11:1-27 or 12:1-10
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’ After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’ - John 11:1-27
“For they walk by this world’s light.” When I first read that, I wondered how in the world were we not to stumble led by this world’s light where confusing events after nonsensical events occur? Especially during Lent when we are to be giving up, say, chocolate right before “this world’s light” and advertisements attempt to coax us into a romantic relationship via chocolate on Valentine’s Day. A friend of mine just recently had her first baby and the day after when I was getting ready in the morning I realized that this was the baby’s first sunrise on this earth. She has every opportunity to change this world’s light. Noticing this made me wonder how many sunrises and sunsets had gone by my life unnoticed for whatever reason and how many opportunities to alter my life for the better, thereby making this world better have gone by unnoticed. We have Jesus to guide our feet as we journey, and I wondered if that’s what he meant - with God’s light and Jesus’ “this world’s light” will not let us stumble, unless we forget to see by that light.
As a human, Jesus needed light to travel. Spiritually as God incarnate, he will always have a light that guides him. By dropping bad habits and picking up good habits we are changing our own lives, obviously, but also this world’s. To have Jesus in our hearts and intentionally making an effort to walk on this 40 day journey with him “this world’s light” just got a little brighter. In thinking about “this world’s light” and this passage during Lent it’s easy to interpret it either way, but in the light of Christ we are to see a new hope and a new dawn. The forty days ended in death, but more importantly a new life.