The Gospel reading for today is placed in John’s narrative as the final part of a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus—a religious leader who had heard and seen Jesus and came to talk to him under cover of night. It’s not surprising then, that Jesus uses the metaphors of light and darkness to make his point. The whole way through John’s Gospel up to this point, there has been a contrast between those who believe only in Jesus’ miracles, and those who move beyond the signs to a true encounter with the man. Nicodemus is one of those who has been captivated by the miracles, but now Jesus challenges him to go further. But there is a catch. To know Jesus and to follow Jesus requires a radical commitment to God’s Reign—and this means dealing with the stuff within us that we would rather keep hidden.

Denial is a major problem in our society today, and it affects us at both personal and social levels. When we refuse to acknowledge our brokenness, our sin and our weakness—our darkness—it cannot be restored, forgiven or healed. But, when we ‘come clean’ and bring our darkness into the light, we can be transformed and renewed. Nicodemus discovered this as he continued in his journey of following Jesus. The time eventually came when he had to make his faith in Christ known, in spite of the potential cost. His faith could only be real, though, when he was ‘living in the light.’

This week we will be challenged to choose between living in the darkness of denial and coming into the light of honesty, integrity, and true faith.

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