Today’s Scripture: John 12:23-28
44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. 47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. 49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
We spend a lot of time at Westwood talking about being the presence of Christ. It’s in our Calling Statement. It’s basically every sermon I preach. It is an important part of who we are. Have you ever wondered why?
The answer is in today’s passage. These six verses are the summary of the first 12 chapters of John. The summary is this: when you see Jesus – you see God; Jesus brings light to darkness. As disciples of Jesus, we want to act like Jesus. When we act like Jesus – people will be pointed to God. When we act like Jesus – people will be freed from darkness.
Now, full disclosure: there are many days I’m pretty sure I don’t want the responsibility of pointing people to God and brining light to darkness. And there are other days I just fail at it completely. And yet, I have decided to follow Jesus and that means living as much as I can as Jesus would live.
So how do we as individuals go about being the presence of Christ, pointing people to God, and being a light in the darkness? It all seems a little too much doesn’t it?
Well, I don’t think God wants to put the responsibility of saving the world on our shoulders. Jesus already took care of that. So, our responsibility is to just continue to grow in discipleship. In other words, our commitment each day should be to learning what it means to be a disciple. The more we learn about being a disciple, hopefully the more we will act like a disciple.
So what does that look like? Well, being a disciple does not mean spending hours in Bible study each day. It does not mean memorizing whole chapters of the Bible. It does not mean sitting in prayer for an hour before sunrise. (Although these are not bad things!) Instead, it means walking through your day as Jesus would walk through his day: being kind and compassionate, loving your neighbor, reaching out to those who are hurting, not judging. In other words – brining light to the darkness.
I have a feeling that today you might have an opportunity to be the presence of Christ. Make a decision now to be a light. Make a decision now to point people to God. And then do it again tomorrow. This is what being a disciple is all about.
God help us to act like Jesus today. Help us to be his disciples. May our actions point others to you and Jesus pointed to you and may our lives bring the light of Christ to the dark places of the world.