John 12:35-36, Light
By Peter Hahn
Recently, I attended the baptism of a friend’s child. The family was presented with a lighted candle and the words, “Receive the light of Christ.” I wondered how many times “light” is mentioned in scriptures and halted my search at 400, still in the Hebrew Bible. Earlier in John’s Gospel, we are told, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” (KJV) So what IS this light that is so prominent in our readings? Why, in our passage, does there seem to be a warning about timeliness?
To me, in a world full of variables, there is one absolute in Christ who is the “light” and that light is TRUTH with a capital “T.” But our truth prevails as we lead our daily lives and that truth varies from person to person. In our “darkness” we struggle to earn a living, deal with everyday problems, and lose sight of the truth we are being offered and for many, live in a realm of despair with our shortcomings. Essentially, we are walking in the darkness and do not know where we are going.
The light of Christ is our one non-changing truth and we need only to “believe in the light,” follow that path, and believe that all else will fall in line. Jesus, as John recounts, may be telling us that that an understanding will not always be available to us. However, in Advent, it is being offered once again and we must pay attention, step out of the darkness, and prepare to welcome the newborn Christ, the eternal and only truth, the “light of the world!”