This post is one in a series of reflections for Lent. I invite you to go back and read the previous reflections.
I was so excited to start this series. I was so disciplined. I thought I would be able to stay caught up. I suppose I have failed. I would love to say that something amazing happened, and distracted my attention. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I am going to sit down, and catch up. Hopefully, I will be able to stay caught up. I apologize for falling behind. I hope that you enjoy my reflections.
Jesus is the light of the world. He says that no one would put a light under a basket. Instead, we place a lamp on a stand so that it gives light to everyone. We can look at this from a couple of different ways. First, Jesus is headed to being lifted up. He will be raised upon a cross. Could it be that his statement here is just point toward that fact? Of course, the Jews that would be listening could not possibly understand how that could be any part of the mission of the Christ. To them, they see the Christ as a great political leader. A man who will defeat the Romans and reestablish the kingdom of David. That is not the intention of God. His kingdom will be a spiritual kingdom that will reach every corner of the globe.
Second, he is speaking to the way that we ought to treat him. We should live in a way that lifts him up for the world to see. We are gifted with the light of Christ. God never gives for our benefit alone. His first concern is that he would be praised. His glory is his first concern. When we fail to shine his light to the world about us, then we fail to give God the glory that he is worth of. Are lives should be a shining witness of his love and glory to the world.
He also talks about giving us a greater understanding. God is anxious to reveal himself to men. He is so anxious that he draws men to himself. In fact, we learn in the scripture that no one can know God, unless God first reveals himself to that person. He has more to reveal. He has a greater amount of glory and more of his character to reveal to us. We are called to tune into God. We must yield our own selves to God, so that he can reveal himself to us.
Beginning with Abraham, the Jews had a special revelation of God. God had revealed himself to the Jews, not for their benefit, but so that they could make him known to the world. The Jews had really failed at that mission from God. They had a special light revealed to them, and they had not understood what God had intended for them. Jesus says that if the Jews do not listen to Jesus, then the light that they have will be taken from them. Jesus has come to the Jews to reveal more of God to them. They have rejected Jesus, and in so doing they have rejected God. They are going to lose the special light that God had first given to Abraham. God is on the verge of changing the way in which he reveals himself to men. The amazing thing is that this has been the plan all along. He knew when he called Abraham from Ur that the Jews would fail to live up to the covenant with him. He is still able to keep the promises that he made to Abraham, in spite of the failures of men. He is still able to accomplish his will even when we fail. So he isn't so much changing his plan toward men, but he is following through with the plan that has been in place since before there was time. God is immutable. That means he does not change. This is the plan he has had throughout history. He has allowed the Jews to do their own thing, and through their failure we are able to see how patient God is when the failures of men.
Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a small seed. He even goes onto to compare it to the mustard seed, which is one of the smallest seeds. He pictures something so small, and yet it will grow to become something so much larger. When you think of a farmer, he plants the seed and then he waits. One of the things Jesus is trying to teach us is that we should work to sow the seeds of the kingdom, but God is going to be the one to bring the increase. This goes along with what we already know about God. God will draw men to himself. We will share the light of Christ, and God will draw his church to himself. It may be that we lift up the name of Christ, and at times it may seem we are not being fruitful. We should not trust in our own strength, but in the will of God. If we are faithful to him, then he will draw those men he wills to himself. We can see the great power of God in the amazing growth of the church throughout history. The Church began with Jesus 11 remaining disciples, the Apostle Paul, and grew to include a third of the world's population today. The first couple centuries of the church were marked by vicious persecution, and yet the church continued to grow in spite of that persecution. That testimony should help to encourage us to trust in the will of God. God is able to accomplish all he wills in spite of the world around us.