Work, work, works

I sometimes think I have too much work to do. The press of responsibilities occupies my thoughts and disturbs my sleep. And the truth of the matter is, I have much, much less to worry about than many people I know.

I can’t imagine the load Jesus had to carry.

As we saw in a recent post, the disciples saw a man who had been blind all his life, and asked Jesus whose sin was responsible for that tragedy — the man himself, or his parents. Jesus’ response was neither; this was instead an opportunity to showcase God’s work.

“Work.” Here, Jesus uses the ordinary term for work, not the one for “miracle” or “sign.” In a sense, Jesus was suggesting that the unusual miracle he was about to do was all in a day’s work.

But he also included the disciples in that work:

While it’s daytime, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:3-5, CEB)

“We” must do the works that the Father has prescribed; literally, we must “work the works.” Unwittingly, the blind man is about to become a witness to Jesus. As Jesus does the Father’s work, as that work is displayed in the man, the man will become part of the work — even before he understands who Jesus is, before he becomes a disciple. How much more must the disciples themselves be part of the work!

“Night and Day” by Seth the Zeph

But there is a sense of urgency here. The constant contrast between light and dark in John’s gospel crops up again. Night is coming, and no one works at night. Whatever must be done, must be done during the day. And there is much to be done.

Jesus repeats the “I Am” statement he uttered in chapter 8: “I am the light of the world.” I don’t think he’s saying that the title only applies while he is physically in the world. After all, John has already given us a more eternal perspective: Jesus, as the eternal Word through whom all things were created, including life itself, “was the light for all people” (John 1:4).

But night is coming, and Jesus knows it. His earthly ministry will end at the hands of the forces of darkness. And in the time he has left, he must be about bringing light. Many will refuse it. But some will not.

And he wants the disciples to be part of that work.

I am reminded again of Jesus’ pronouncement in the gospel of Matthew: “You are the light of the world” (Matt 5:14). Our vocation is to join Jesus in his work. We may not be restoring sight to the blind. But the world is still a dark place in need of the light of truth. What will our lives show?