Jesus and 2022. Well, 2021 now is history and 2022 is making history, or living history, or just bumbling along while we mere mortals try to make history with the material we have at hand. Do we know why it is 2022; do we care?
Care or not, it’s like this: 2022 years ago, give or take a couple of months, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of David; from that historical and history-making event we measure time in both directions.
Why don’t we measure from the birth of Nero or some other well-known despot? I guess we have some sense of value.
Among other descriptions, while on earth Jesus referred to Himself as The Light of the World and the Light of Life, brilliant metaphors of Divinity! During His ministry, Jesus indeed lit such a light that we are still walking in its brilliance 2022 years later. And for those who will see, His Light will get still more brilliant until it rises in consuming and immortalizing radiance at the dawn of Perfect Day when this age of troubled confusion is ended, and the eternal age of peace and paradise begins. He promised! He’s the Promise Keeper!
In the last days before Jesus is crucified, an event hundreds of millions of people still acknowledge during Easter, people were typical of many people in 2022: too indolent to care about Light, too bright in their own eyes to see another Light, or simply too busy with sparks of their own kindling to give time to another Light. Others rage, not against the darkness, but against the Light. They love the darkness because it hides the evil of their souls. But others love light.
Those who love the Light see the Light. Some see it as only the first faint glowing of the dawn and they take comfort in the assurance of coming day. Because they love Light with intensity and passion others, credible eyewitnesses of His majesty, see it explode in spectrum glory while they mingle and jostle on the dusty ways of Palestine.
The teaching of Jesus in temple, synagogue, or home, perhaps as He soothes His aching, blistered feet in cool Galilee, rests in the shade of the olive grove, or stretches out His hands to the fire in the chill of the night – this is the Light. It is warm, comforting, disturbing, sometimes shocking, always unforgettable. It brings joy, peace, acceptance, love, and understanding to those who open their eyes to its glow. It dispels the fear, regret, superstition, greed, lust, and envy of those who believe. But for those who will not believe, who refuse to open their eyes, the Light only makes their moral darkness more intense.
Walk in the Light. Rest in its glow in the evening. Meditate. Ponder the words of the Teacher. Let them warm and move your soul. Let them push back the darkness.
Walk with the Light. Keep in step as Light strides through the Temple court and upsets the unholy commerce in souls of people, consuming the facades of holiness of the merchants of darkness. As the Light blazes, Bigotry, Pride, and Arrogance feel the intensity of its holy heat but their eyes are blind to Light they will not see.
Light is for walking. The Light of Heaven flashes with penetrating brilliance and Lazarus, walks out of the shades of death. Some believe. Leaping and dancing, they shout their praise. They revel in the glory of the Light and glory in its promise. But some love the darkness of the grave more than the Light of Life. Conservative as death, they mutter their unbelief and rage at One who can and will upset the tradition of the dead. Steeped in abysmal darkness, they will not tolerate the Light.
Walk in the Light while you have it. Six days before His crucifixion nobody knows – not the doctors, not the lawyers, not the preachers, not the plotters, not even the disciples – nobody knows that the Light of Life, the Light of the World, the Dispeller of Darkness is about to leave them with a gloriously brilliant display on the cross that only believers will see – and that only in retrospect. But Jesus knows. And he lets His light shine. As is his custom, He teaches, He preaches, He heals, He lifts, He soothes, He comforts, He restores, He rebukes, He warns. He teaches us that we should do as He does – each in her or his own sphere.
Walk in the Light while you have it. Eternal darkness, absolute, intense, unending, is the reward of those who refuse, despise, or neglect the Light of Life. When Judas slips out of the upper room, out of the presence of Light, it is night. Unending night settles on his soul; absolute darkness shrouds his spirit – because he has loved and clung to darkness rather than to Light.
Light is for walking. Because he loves the Light intensely, in the depths of his alienation and despair, Light enters Peter’s mind and illumines his walk back to Jesus. Jesus accepts Peter back; He still accepts back from the brink of eternal darkness those who choose to walk in His Light. Read all about it in the Gospels!
May each of you enjoy a 2022 of Light.
Happy New Year!