John 12 verse 46 reads: “I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness”. In this context, light means knowledge, and darkness means ignorance. The Greeks described people as being ‘in the dark’, in the same way as we do: meaning unenlightened. They prized knowledge and wisdom very highly. Jesus is suggesting that those who believe in Him need not, or should not, or should not have to, remain ignorant, because He brings light, or understanding, into the world. We often use the expression ‘seeing the light’s, which means coming to an understanding of the truth of a specific issue. It seems as though faith precedes understanding: if we believe, we are able to receive revelation. Conversely, without faith it is impossible to perceive spiritual truth. This is why it is normally impossible to persuade anyone to believe, using the intellect and reasoning only. Faith, or at least an openness to believing, is a prerequisite. Faith leads to understanding, which leads to increased faith, then that leads to greater understanding – the opposite phenomenon of a vicious circle!
Today, we thank God for the gift of faith, for the light that Jesus brings into the world, and for the Spirit’s work, in helping us to understand spiritual truth. May more and more people be open to receiving the gift of faith; and may more and more people seek to understand the spiritual truth of our Gospel.
With love, in Christ
Reverend Nigel Andrews 3 January 2021