Light is powerful. It can rise, grow, reflect, change, dim. Light can be intimidating, scary even when we consider it in the same breath of our secrets.
Jesus, the light of the world, offers His light to you.
We invite you to listen to this episode to consider Jesus’ light for you in the dark, painful, scary things in your life. We’ll focus on John 3 and 4 comparing Jesus’ meetings with Nicodemus vs the Samaritan woman at the well.
Let’s remember the promise when Jesus said He came into the world not to condemn it but to save it.
The light Jesus offers is not a spotlight to glaringly expose your shame.
We have a good God offering good light meant to heal you and make you whole.
Let’s listen in.
When we have sin in our lives, things that have been done to us by others or things that we have done, it can be really scary to be in the light with those things.
Jesus doesn’t call us into the light because he wants to harm us. He calls us into the light, as painful as it can be to be there, because He wants to heal us.
What do you want to bring into the light? What do you have hiding?
What if Jesus is inviting you into the light so you can be healed?
For more on this topic, check our latest article Why You Are Meant to Brave the Dangerous Light
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
I’ve encountered something in support groups that I think so many people in the church have never experienced. And it is a shame, it is a crying shame. Because the church is the environment where that support group experience is meant to thrive. here’s, here’s what I mean, specifically. People who attend support groups come and one of the things they do, every time they’re there is they speak the truth vulnerably about how they’re doing in some of the hardest, most difficult, most shameful, most vulnerable places of their lives. attics tell the truth about how they’ve been doing with their addiction. abusers tell the truth about their anger. People who are wrapped up in sexual sin speak the truth about their their faults, their missteps. I’m not saying that’s all that happens in a support group. It shouldn’t be by far. But it is a big part of it. And yet, we go into a church on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night, or we go into our small groups. And it is so rarely an experience where people are telling the truth about things that happened to them way long ago, not just about sins that everybody struggles with, like pride and, you know, losing their temper every once in a while. But about those areas that we feel vulnerable about, it’s so hard to speak the truth. So I’m going to share two stories with you. One is from Scripture, and the other is about an experience I had with a group of pastors that was really special to me. So let me start with the passage of scripture. Taking seminary course right now in the New Testament. And one of the things we’ve talked about in there is how oftentimes gospel writers would not include details about Jesus life in chronological order, that was actually pretty normal for writers in that time, who are writing history, geography is of people’s lives. So we can assume that when gospel writers put certain stories together, or certain narratives together certain sermons together, they were doing so for a purpose. One of the places that I want to look at is john three and four. And we can assume that the john wrote these together because he wanted us to read them together and recognize them together that he was trying to tell us something by putting them so close together. So in john three, you might remember, Jesus has this encounter with Nicodemus, a religious leader who comes to him in the middle of night, asking questions about who he is, and what this is all about, and how you how you’re born again. Etc, etc. And I’ll share a lot more about what Jesus says specifically to him. And then in john four, Jesus has an encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. And he actually begins the conversation with her so she does not initiate he initiates. So I just want to compare and contrast. There’s a lot we can compare and contrast about those two encounters that the john highlights for us. But I want to highlight a couple I want to point out a couple things specifically. First of all, is just the difference. So Nicodemus is a religious leader, who allegedly would have answers to religious types of questions. The Samaritan woman not so much Nicodemus would be esteemed and looked up to in his culture, the Samaritan woman not so much. Nicodemus, however, comes to Jesus at night. He comes to Jesus at night, and Jesus has he talked to Nick edemas. He says this to him. He says, people, the light is coming to the world, but people avoid the light because their deeds are evil, and they fear that their deeds will be exposed if they come to the light. It doesn’t take much to understand that john is trying to point out Nicodemus, Jesus is talking to you here. In contrast to that, the very next chapter, Jesus has having this conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus is speaking to her in the middle of the day, and the noonday light. And a lot of people have pointed out how in Jesus day, that was very unusual, and probably is a sign of her standing in the culture, that she was actually choosing to come at a time when other people would not have been at the well because typically, people would have come in the morning to get water for their day, in the morning, because it’s cool in the morning because they were going to need water all day through. But for her, she came in middle of the day. And a lot of people suggested that was because she wasn’t really invited, wanted. She didn’t want to be around other people. They looked down on her she was ashamed to be around them, etc, etc. We don’t know all the details, but something like that. Jesus meets her in the middle of day. JOHN points out that Nick edemas came seeking Jesus. He also points out that Jesus is the one who initiates with this woman. So we might say that Jesus initiated with her he was seeking her out. So there’s this real profound exchange here and not only that, but then Jesus. She doesn’t confess her sin to Jesus, Jesus prophetically tells her about her sordid relational history, including her of living with a man who she’s not married to, and we don’t know the full story about what’s happened with her. It actually it would be more likely that her husband’s or previous husbands left her, they chose to divorce her. Because it was typically more common that I’m approved upon that a man would divorce his wife and a woman would divorce her husband. But often that might be because they, you know, they thought there was marital infidelity or something like that. So we don’t know what her full story is. But we know that it’s sorted. We know there’s something questionable there. And then certainly with living with a man she’s not married to that would have been frowned upon at that point, too. So, Nick edemas, Jesus is telling Nicodemus people hide because they don’t want the the their evil deeds to come into the light, they don’t want to be exposed. And then Jesus exposes this, the truth of this woman’s life to her. Here’s the main point, I think, and this is the crux of it. Right before that in Jesus says he’s talking to Nick edemas. He says, Look, I didn’t come into the world, to condemn the world, but to save the world. And then, as Jesus later the very next chapter is talking to this woman, we see this in the flesh, we see it in acted as he’s exposing our sin. And then all the day, this private interchange between him and her. Jesus does not condemn her. He doesn’t condemn her. He just kind of says it matter of factly. Yep, you’re right. You’re not married. You’ve been married five times, and the man you’re currently living with is not your husband. She’s taken aback and she redirects the conversation. But let’s just let’s just point out, Jesus just says it. And then he moves on. And most importantly, he is speaking to her thirst. Now, last bit about this, this comparison between these two, john leaves the conversation he leaves us kind of like hanging a little bit with what happened in academia. But the last we see of Nicodemus, Nicodemus is confused about who Jesus is and what he’s saying. In contrast, this once outcast woman leaves that interchanged with Jesus, apparently no longer ashamed, no longer hiding from her community because she goes back into her city. And in the Scripture, say, john tells us, she tells everyone come and meet this man, who told me everything I ever did. She’s not hiding from her past or her present anymore. She’s She’s out in the open, and she seems free. And then john tells us that so many people that her village actually came to faith in Christ, they wanted to spend more time with him and learn from him. The light can be painful, it can be scary. When we have sin in our lives, things that have been done to us by others, or things that we have done. It can be really scary to be in the light with those things. We have this kind of instinctual, instinctive kind of feeling that it’s going to kill us, it’s going to harm us, if we bring that stuff out. We’re going to be rejected, we’re going to be alone or being hurt, if not just instinctive. Some of us have also experienced that we’ve confessed things, we’ve shared things about our past or present. And people did not handle it. Well, they gossiped. They look down on us, they avoided us. They spoke harsh words to us, they spoke spiritual sounding words that were actually really abusive to us. The light can be a scary place. But Jesus never calls us into the light. He never seeks to expose our sin because he wants to harm us. But because he wants to heal us, he doesn’t call us into the light because he wants to harm us. He calls us into the light, as painful as it can be to be there. He calls us there because he wants to heal us. He wants to heal us. Friends, what’s true in your life today? What are the places that you struggle to want to bring into the light weaknesses, struggles, attractions, sins past or present? things that have been done to you that are hard to talk about? Could it be that Jesus is inviting you into the light, to find a community where you can share those things and in the light with him and yourself, that you can be healed of those things? All right, I told you outside a story. I want to show this to. Several years ago, I was meet with a small group of pastors and they were wrestling with really wanting to serve men in their churches, but recognizing that so many of the men in their churches, and that’s true for women, too. But these guys were specifically focused on men at the time. were wrestling with pornography, and they’re like, how do we, you know, what do we do with this, like this is really tripping a lot of guys up. So they invited me to come and be with them. And, you know, ask me some questions about, you know, how they might get after this stuff. And one of things we talked about is how important it is how important vulnerability is. And so I was just kind of asking him trying to prime the pump. Are there places for you guys, where you can be vulnerable, where you can lead in that where you can invite other guys to be vulnerable? And the great lively conversation, and then one of the guys in the room I’ll never forget it. Pastor probably in his 60s, just stop and he said, Well, wait, guys, is this a place like that? Is this a place where we can be vulnerable about our sins? Because I haven’t shared everything with you guys. But I want to know, is this a place where we can go there? And man, the room got quiet. And I didn’t see anything, but I just had a sense it was almost like Jesus walked into the room, allowed himself to be stripped naked, just like he was was before his crucifixion and turn was turning to the pastors in the room and saying, will you follow me? Will you follow me? It was so profound. Because Jesus not only doesn’t invite us into the light to harm us, but to heal us. He also has gone there first He has gone to the light, he has gone to the most vulnerable places. When he was stripped, and beaten and hung on a tree. He was exposed before all people. And most people believe that Jesus was if he wasn’t naked, he was as good as naked from what he might have had left wearing with been wearing when he was crucified. He has been there he, the writer of Hebrews says he despised the shame of it. He knows what it’s like. So when we step into light, and he calls us into light, he doesn’t fully present to us in that place. He has been there and he is with us in that place. I know this is hard for all of us. But we have got to become a church that is better about making our our congregations, our small groups, our relationships and the church much, much more. Like so many support groups are where people walk in the door and they say, Hi, I’m Josh, I’m a sinner. Let me tell you the full scope of what I’ve done and what’s been done to me. And we love each other there because we know that Jesus needs to send that place to heal us to change us to redeem us, Lord, we want to follow you grant his faith and courage to do so. And Lord is we are exposing ourselves which you be our covering. We pray Lord for our good for Your glory in Jesus name. Amen.
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