I have been challenged in my discipleship class to read the Gospels in a month’s time. I decided to go to the Gospel of John first. I was struck one morning when I came to the passage in John 11:9, Jesus had been asked a question by His disciples, and He responds to the question in a very strange way. At least to me it was strange. The disciples were trying to talk Jesus out of going to see Lazarus after he had fallen ill. The Jewish rules had tried to stone Him last time Jesus was in the area. The disciples were fearful that the Jewish rulers would succeed in their quest. Maybe Jesus saw beneath the question they asked. “Yet, you are going back there?” Then Jesus responded, “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.” (John 11:9-10)
What were the disciples really asking that Jesus was responding to? Were they fearful that they would be stoned too? I have been listening to James MacDonald (Walking in the Word) who has been talking about the Gospel of John. So I pulled out the notes from this passage to see what had been revealed to Pastor MacDonald. His thoughts were that “no matter what the circumstances we’re facing, as long as we are doing good and walking in submission to the light, then we are in the center of God’s will.” Nothing else matters. We can’t shy away from going into the hard places. We are called to be the light in this dark world. We cannot change the reactions the world will offer, but we can change our attitude concerning them.
I thought about the Duck Dynasty controversy. Phil Robertson called sin, sin. It’s clearly labeled as such in the Bible. We shouldn’t respond to the reaction of the world by hating those who disagree with the truth. We are to continue in the light even if there are threats to “stone” us for our views on sin. We are on the narrow path with very few joining us. Yet, our job is to go to the ones in love and respond in kindness not hatred. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to love them and save them from themselves (John 3:16-17). I was once like those who walk in darkness. I didn’t understand the truth. As I have grown in my knowledge of Jesus, I have gained understanding of what it means to do good even when I have to go to dangerous places to do it.
As I finished up my quiet time that morning, I read Titus 2:11-3:8. The writer encouraged the readers to continue doing good. It’s by God’s grace that salvation came for all people. We are to say “No” to ungodliness. We are to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (Titus 2:11-12). Timely passage that still is relevant today even in the midst of controversy. Yes, it’s hard when all the ones around us pick up stones. But when we are walking in the will of God, we are in the perfect place to show love. “These things are excellent and profitable for everyone” (Titus 3:8b).
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:1-6