Our scripture this morning is John 8:12-19.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
Jesus gives the Pharisees (and us) a lesson on truth and judgement. The Pharisees were big on judgement but not so much on truth. They were the teachers of the law but they often failed to obey what they taught.
Notice their questions to Jesus. They aren’t interested in understanding what He teaches, only in challenging His right to speak these things. How often are we like this? Even when we disagree it’s important to listen and understand.
As we begin a new year, may we honestly listen to the concerns of our brothers and sisters, and if we disagree, at least make the effort to understand their side of the situation. We may still disagree, but listening and discussing rationally rather than rejecting and dismissing as the Pharisees did will allow us to move forward as Jesus taught. Let us ask for God’s guidance to better understand and care for one another.
Loving Lord, forgive us for ignoring the fears and needs of others. Help us to share Your love in the world, using the gifts You have given us wisely. Amen.