Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Light of the World

In Sunday's [3-year] Gospel, we hear about Jesus' giving sight to the man who was born blind. The story starts with the question about "Who sinned?" that this man should be punished with blindness. Jesus explains that it wasn't a punishment for a particular sin, but that it was in order that God's works might be revealed in him. Then Jesus tells them that He is the light of the world.

Huh. I didn't realize that line was in that story. I knew "I am the light of the world" from the previous chapter. Huh.

So Pastor's making a point in the sermon about how the miracles of Jesus are merely signs. The point is not that somebody with bad legs could walk now. The point is not that a blind person could see, or a deaf person hear. The point is not that Lazarus was brought back to life. After all, these healing miracles were not permanent: these people eventually died. These are signs which point to the greater reality: the true healing found in the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body.

And that is seen so well by looking at the two locations where Jesus claims to be the light of the world. First, Mary Magdalene is caught in adultery and is about to be stoned for it. Jesus speaks to her accusers, and they go away, and He says to her, "I do not condemn you." That's when He says He's the light of the world. A little later, still in Jerusalem, when He talks about being the light of the world, the important part is still the forgiveness of sins. But this time Jesus has a sign connected to His gift of merciful absolution: the man's physical eyes were opened to physical light, just as his eyes were opened in faith to the Light of the World.

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