God gives life and light to us through the Son. Receiving this gift is more challenging than we often realize or admit to ourselves. These verses from John remind us that choosing life with the Son of God means not choosing a life of hiding from the truth. Hiding from the truth of who we are or what we have done harms us and those we love. Yet too many people choose a life of concealment because they carry shame, are burdened by fear, or believe that no one can actually help them. Jesus confronts us with the truth that God already sees and knows us completely and yet refuses to condemn us. Jesus himself offers healing for our deceit and our inability to see God’s work in our lives. God invites us to look to the Son and believe in him.
The children of Israel reached the point where their desire for God’s help overcame their willingness to hide. They confessed their sin of complaining against God and denying God’s love and care for them. We move in a good direction when we speak the truth of what we feel or know to God and to ourselves. It is never a mistake to confess our sins to God because words spoken to God are always spoken to the One who knows us and loves us completely. To hide from ourselves or from God denies that love.
Darkness and light in this regard are not physical or visible. Darkness is the captivity of concealment that makes us susceptible to harm or to harming others. The light is the freedom of life with Jesus in the love of God who leads us into all truth without fear or shame. Hiding is not God’s way, nor should it be ours.
Loving and saving God, show me all the ways I hide from you and from myself. Guide me into the truth for the sake of Jesus. Amen.
Sometimes we get ourselves into trouble by our words and actions. It’s okay to admit it. It happens to all of us. The Israelites experienced this when their constant grumbling provoked God’s wrath in Numbers 21. Yet even in this story, God provides the means of salvation. The psalmist echoes the refrain that when we put ourselves in bad positions, we may cry out to the Lord for deliverance. We read in Ephesians that all of us were living in disobedience to God, but God has done all the work of reconciliation by grace given through Christ Jesus. John ties all this together, gesturing to the story in Numbers 21 to teach us that Christ is the means of restoration and salvation for all who believe in him.
• Read Numbers 21:4-9. When has your complaining distorted your sense of reality? How do you maintain a sense of God’s presence?
• Read Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22. Consider implementing a practice of rising from sleep to give God thanks and to call to mind the many ways God works in your life.
• Read Ephesians 2:1-10. Does your sense of God’s salvation engender a sense of grace within you and a desire to do good? Why or why not?
• Read John 3:14-21. Do you consider yourself a creature of light or darkness? Why?
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