Summary: Are you following THE Guiding Light or just a guiding light?
Do you remember this intro? “And now, The Guiding Light.” It is an old one. According to Guinness Book of World Records The Guiding Light was the longest running drama of all time. It came on the air in January 25, 1937 five days after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second inauguration as 15 minute serials. It then lasted some 18,000 episodes and 72 years, finally ending on September 18th, 2009. The series was created by Irna Phillips who based it on her personal spiritual experiences of having given birth to a still-born baby and finding comfort in listening to on-air sermons. These sermons provided the nucleus upon which the show was based. The Guiding Light refers to a lamp in the study of a minister who would turn it on to be a sign for the residents to find help when needed. With such an extensive history the show reflected, in a sense, the changing times of this country. Over the years the preacher was removed, the Christian message dissipated and the inspirational themes evolved into typical soap exploitations and glorifications of sin. Even the “the” was removed and the light went from being exclusive and singular to being just a Guiding Light among many.
Last week we learned about Jesus first claim as being God. He had fed the five thousand and they came back for more food. It was in this setting that Jesus declared “I Am the Bread of Life.” He used the Greek words ego and eimi (I-mee). Eimi meant to exist and ego meant the emphasis being on myself. Jesus emphasized his right to claim that his very existence made him the Bread of Life. The result of this claim was a mass exodus of his followers.
Shortly after this altercation the time for the Festival of the Booths also know as the Feast of the Tabernacles was near. This is Israel’s Thanksgiving feast in which they acknowledge the Fall harvest and God’s provision for them. It is happy celebration and a time of joy and rejoicing.
This feast also remembers Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and their subsequent wandering in the wilderness for forty years. During this time Israel lived in tents and worshiped at the Tabernacle which was also a tent. To remember this time the Jews build small tabernacles or booths. For seven days they were to live in these booths as a vivid reminder of the days in the wilderness living in tents.
Another feature of the feast was illumination of the Temple. The pilgrims who came to the Temple would bring lights and torches. Further the golden lamps stands would also be lighted illuminating the Temple. This prophetically looked forward to the coming of the Messiah as written in Isaiah 49:6. He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
It was during this time that Jesus entered into Jerusalem. In the middle of the week He began to teach at the temple. The Jews who heard him were amazed at his teachings. The Jewish authorities were angered by his teachings. They would debate a lot of issues with Jesus over the next three days. Some wanted to proclaim him as Messiah. Others wanted him arrested and killed. Jesus sought the solitude of the Mount of Olives while all the others went home. However Jesus wasn’t finished.
As the pilgrims began to pack things away to travel home and the lights had been extinguished, Jesus began teaching again. In the midst of his teaching some scribes and Pharisees brought before him a woman caught in the act of adultery. “The law of Moses says this woman should be stoned to death. What do you say we do with her?”
Jesus bent down and began to write in the dirt. No one knows what was written but I can guess, as long as you understand it’s just a guess. I think He began to write a list of sins that her accusers had committed. And I think they were secret sins known only to the guilty parties. He gave them a chance to read the list and the said “Let anyone of you without sin throw the first stone at her.” Then He started writing again. Perhaps this time some names associated with the sins. They began dropping their stones and walking away until only the woman stood there.
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Immediately He turns to the people and makes this declaration. John 8:12 “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”