To read the texts click on the texts: Dn13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62; Jn 8:12-20
In these verses, Jesus’ teaching places him in conflict with those who are opposed to him. The text begins with an “I am” saying of Jesus and here the predicate is “light of the world”. Light was an important symbol in the celebration of the Fest of Tabernacles or Booths. By proclaiming that he is the light of the world, Jesus declares himself to be the true fulfilment of Tabernacles joy and hope. The lights at the feast illuminated only the city of Jerusalem, Jesus illuminates the whole world.
The response to this light can be one of two responses. One can opt to follow the light and so have the light of life, or to walk in darkness.
The Pharisees respond to Jesus’ invitation by questioning the validity of Jesus’ self-witness. However, Jesus’ knowledge of his origin and his destination validates his self-witness, because it derives from his relationship to God and his whole career as the Word. Thus, Jesus is the only one who can bear witness “on his behalf,” because he is the only one who has seen God and can make God known. Because his opponents do not share Jesus’ knowledge, they cannot recognize the validity of his witness. The opponents of Jesus judge by what is visible and so do not recognise the divine origin of Jesus. Though Jesus judges no one, when a moment of judgement occurs, his judgement, like the witness out of which it arises, is valid, because he judges at one with the God who sent him, the same God who sent him for salvation. Jesus then meets the Pharisees’ demand for two witnesses by offering himself and God.
At the conclusion, it is made explicit that the time set for Jesus by God governs Jesus’ life, not human intentions.
The choice of light and darkness exists even today. There are numerous times when we too like Jesus’ opponents choose darkness over light. Sometimes we do this because we imagine that darkness is more appealing than light, at other times it is because it is more convenient and to our advantage. If like Jesus we are able to see beyond the merely physical and recognise light for what it is, we will always opt for the light.
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