Have you ever gone on a long car trip in the summertime only to discover that you left your sunglasses at home? Sometimes the light will shine so brightly that you have to squint in order to see the road. And it won't be long until you pull over and buy a cheap pair of sunglasses at the nearest convenience store.
We put on sunglasses to protect our eyes from the brightness of the sun. It doesn't change the power of the sun- it simply makes us able to still keep our eyes open. All of our attempts to hide from the sun cannot overcome it.
How many times do we put on sunglasses in order to handle Jesus, the truth of God's Word?
In John 8:12, Jesus says, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Jesus is inviting us to take off our sunglasses, to walk in his light and as a result to have the light of life!
Jesus invites us to open our eyes- the very thing that Satan tempted Eve with in the Garden of Eden- "God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5) And so sin entered the world because Eve chose to believe the lies that Satan tempted her with, not understanding that this choice to disobey God would separate her from Him.
All of history has been God's response to this decision- his effort to bring us back into relationship with Him.
But we can't handle this truth- we can't look at the light that is Jesus without our sunglasses. We want to understand the world through our own logic. We can accept that certain things are morally wrong- murder, stealing, lying, disregard for authority. But we want to make ourselves good enough.
We now know the difference between good and evil and we are not willing to trust in God's plan to redeem us- to bring us back to Himself.
This plan is a plan that God set in place when he created the world- He knew that He would send His Son, Jesus to die on the cross in OUR place, to pay the price for the sins that we have committed and will commit.
The light is too bright and we put our sunglasses back on. We want to accept Jesus when He makes sense to us, but we hide from the truth when He says something that we don't like.
John 8:12 comes right after a passage that should challenge each one of us to our core. It is the story of the adulterous woman who is brought to Jesus. The teachers of the law were angry at Jesus and were trying to find a way to accuse him. Jesus' response here is one of my favorites in all of scripture- "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7). All of her accusers had to walk away.
And then Jesus said a very powerful thing, "Then neither do I condemn you... Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:11)
The lesson to be learned here is that none of us can throw a stone at anyone else. We are all sinners! But instead of condemning us to the judgement that we deserve, Jesus died in our place. He gave his life, so that we could live with Him forever.
When Jesus hung on the cross paying the price for MY sin and for yours, His prayer to the Father was, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34). I believe he prays this same sentiment for each one of us today-
Father, forgive them,
they keep putting their sunglasses back on!
They are trying to look on me with their own logic,
their own presuppositions,
their own prejudices.
They are trying to save themselves
or cast judgement on others.
Help them to see clearly!
To recognize TRUTH.
To stop living for themselves and
to have the humility to admit
that they do not know everything.
Forgive them, Father, they do not know what they are doing!
Will we accept this gift of life that Jesus offers us so freely? Or will we keep putting on sunglasses and keeping our distance?