When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey Luke says that He paused as the city came into sight and began to weep (Luke 19:41-44). It seems strange that the people who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem turned against Him a few days later; despite being aware of everything Jesus had done, even raising Lazarus from the dead (John 12:17-18). John described Jesus as the light that shines in the darkness (John 1:5) and it seems incredible that as that Light came into Jerusalem the darkness became darker in an attempt to extinguish the Light (John 1:10-11).
The lighthouses that stand on headlands and on rocky islets around the coastlines of the world are designed to shine their light into the darkness to warn navigators of danger, and to provide a known reference point from which a ship’s position may be determined. Many times I have taken bearings of distant lights and plotted the angles onto paper charts to check a ship’s position. The first glimmer of light from a lighthouse was sought out eagerly by navigators in the days before satellite navigation as confirmation that their vessel was in the right place at the right time.
For those of us who have seen the Light and been transformed it ought to be a simple matter to follow the Light and not end up in the wrong port, or worse still on the rocks. But most of us do just this, and probably on a daily basis. I have never been shipwrecked in real life, although I have had some heart-stopping moments in storms. I can’t imagine what it must be like to hear the sound of a ship grinding onto rocks and then being systematically torn apart by the force of the wind and waves. Yet for some reason I am prepared to allow my faith to receive such a battering because of the many distractions of each day that cause me to look away from the Light.
Jesus also referred to himself as a Sower, extravagantly scattering seed and allowing it to fall not only on good soil, but also in places where it could never be expected to grow or thrive even if it did take root. What if the Parable of the Sower is a light shining on our daily lives? We start the day spending time alone with Jesus and are good soil. What He plants in us takes root and flourishes. We begin the day alive in Him. As the day goes on our soil becomes thinner and less able to sustain the seed. Or the thorns choke out the seed, or the birds come and eat it. By evening we have forgotten how the day started and we find ourselves overwhelmed by the darkness. Once a seed germinates it needs nutrients, water and light. Are we feeding on the right food daily, drinking the Living Water, and keeping our eyes fixed on the Light?
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13 NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)