Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."
- John 12:44-50
In our current readings, we are in Holy Week. Jesus is in Jerusalem, and after Gentile proselytes were seeking after Him, He declared that the hour of the Cross had come (Wednesday's reading). It was the time of His glorification, and He taught the people they must walk while they had the light (Thursday's reading). In yesterday's reading, He continued, "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them. But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them." These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness." Again, Jesus speaks of the light, and His words take on a kind of urgency in warning. He is going to the Cross. Those who seek the light, His word, seek the Father's way which Christ is in the world to represent and to give to the world.
"And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. " My study bible says here that Christ does not judge with favoritism or partiality. "He has spoken the words of life, words of love, forgiveness, repentance, virtue, and mercy," a note reads. The words He has spoken will be the standard by which all people are judged on the last day. It is the rejection of the words He has given that constitutes the judgment.
"For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak." Why does Christ have the words of everlasting life? Because the commands He gives, the words He gives, are those that come from the Father.
Taken altogether, we're given the light of Christ through the words He has given, the commandments He's taught, His way of life. But John himself will write, at the end of the Gospel, "And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." What that indicates is that Christ's word and teachings is more than the commands we know and have been given; He has come into the world to live a human life so that we learn from the fullness of His life. The disciples live with Christ in order to learn from Him, to observe even as a child observes his or her parents and learns from them. The words Christ gives us are the words He's given by the Father, and they are the commands of everlasting life. The life He lives, the things He's done, are also the light for us. They teach us about God and about a blessed way of life. They illuminate what this way truly is for us. As my study bible pointed out, the fullness of these teachings, and of the life that He has lived, the example that He has set, all count in terms of what judgment is and means. It is the rejection of that life and light that creates judgment, because such a rejection is rejection of the Kingdom He brings into the world, the reality of God. In the Lord's Prayer, the "Our Father," Jesus has taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The Kingdom and the will are inseparable; a rejection of the will is a rejection of life in the Kingdom. Christ does not simply teach us to live by His words, but by His entire life. He sets the example. Just as He's taught us to pray to the Father, "Your will be done," so we must look for a life in which - via the Holy Spirit - we become sons of light, that is inheritors of this life and those who also carry the light within our lives and into the world. We seek to live as He has done; as good disciples, even "sons," we seek to follow His example. We seek His word not just as legalistic rules to live by, but rather as light, as living word, even as that which works in us to make us more like the light, like God. The Spirit will be sent through His death on the Cross and Resurrection, and the Spirit illuminates those words and that life to each of us. God works at levels within us that are not mere intellectual choices to follow or not to follow, but rather ways in which we too may share in discernment, in mercy, in the qualities of virtue, love, repentance, grace, and beyond. To walk in His light is to become a "son," to be come more "like Him." He has the words of everlasting life, but what He offers to us is the fullness of the Word -- Himself.