Monday, February 18, 2008

About stumbling


It had to seem strange to get a story about light when the concern was with safety. Were they communicating?

The religious leaders hated Jesus yet Jesus proposed going back into enemy territory.

"But Rabbi," the disciples said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"[1]

His response? A story about light and darkness and stumbling. "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."[2]

This made no sense. They’d stubbed their toes in the night before, but why did Jesus care about that?

Jesus wasn’t done with his followers. "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.”[3]

Remember that these men had seen Jesus restore sight to a blind man. He changed five loaves and two fishes into food for 5,000. They had seen him make wine from water and give steps to a lame man.

But now they didn’t think he could protect them in enemy territory. Jesus made it clear to them he was going to Lazarus, already dead and buried, to give them belief.

They were walking in the light of Jesus’ words and signs, yet they were stumbling. It wasn’t time to stumble but to grow into richer belief.

We all believe something about Jesus but belief is not absolute. We can believe he’s a great teacher or a rebel or our Savior. And we can still doubt his word in other areas.

I have the daylight of Jesus’ teaching. Am I stumbling?

Tomorrow: a sister’s belief


[1] John 11:8

[2] John 11:9-10

[3] John 11:14-15