Read: Ecclesiastes 2:12-17
The “Preacher” in Ecclesiastes does indeed believe that it is better to be a wise than to be fool. He uses the analogy of walking around. When one walks around in the light he or she sees where he is going while the one who walks around the darkness trips over everything and runs into objects. The wise man is the one who walks in the light and the fool is the one who walks around in the dark. But the Preacher says, nevertheless, that the fate of both types of people is the same: they die. He sees this as vanity and empty of meaning. Also at the end of the day, no one remembers the wise man any more than one remembers the fool. Because of the fate of death, the Preacher hated life.
What is apparent though, is the Preacher did not consider was the prospect of eternal life. Eternal life comes from having faith, and this is counted to one as righteousness (Romans 4:5, John 3:16, 36). Jesus himself compares the wise man to the fool in Matthew 7:24-27. Jesus says that the one who hears his words is like one who builds his house on a rock such that when rain and floods come, the house stands. But the fool builds his house on the sand, so when the rain and flood comes, it washes the house falls. Those who hear Jesus’ words and put them into practice are like the one who builds his house on the rock. Jesus taught many things, and eternal life was among them. Faith in Jesus is the beginning, just as fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
People do not have to be as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes and hate life because of the similar fates between the wise man the fool. One would be wise to consider Jesus’ words concerning eternal life. At the end of days, the Lord will resurrect everyone, but the fools who rejected Jesus will not be pitied, rather will be condemned and the wise man who listened to Jesus will not be condemned. The Lord will not forget those who have faith. He has written their names in the Lambs book of Life (Revelation 20:15). Christians can rest assured they are not among the fools, but among the wise. While some men are wise in their own eyes (Proverbs 26:12), it is God who is the ultimate judge of all things, and it would be best in any case to be wise according to God’s standards than one’s own (Proverbs 3:7)!
Lord, help me to be wise by listening to and obeying your teachings!
Read: John 16:16-22
Jesus in a roundabout way predicts his death and resurrection—they will see him now, and in a little while they will not see him, and then will see him again. The disciples are confused by these remarks. Jesus had also said that he is going to be with the Father. Jesus was actually talking about the post resurrection appearances that he made to the disciples and then other witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). Jesus adds some more commentary to the mix in that they will lament and have grief, but that their grief will be turned to joy. He compares it to a mother giving birth, who is in pain at the time of birth but then forgets the pain after the baby is born. The joy of the disciples was made complete after Jesus resurrected from the dead.
The resurrection was a momentous event for certain, as it fulfills the Christian hope for eternal life. Paul calls Jesus the “first fruits” and “first born” of the resurrection that is to come (1 Corinthians 15:20, Colossians 1:18). Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, the hope of the Christian is real. Peter calls it a “living hope” and a “sure salvation” as he expounds upon the implications of the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3-12). Paul also calls it “victory” because death has been defeated and has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:50-57. The victory, assurance, and hope that come from the resurrection of Jesus most certainly should complete the joy of those who believe in the reality of Jesus’ resurrection.
Christians living today have the same hope promised to the disciples, but there are also times in the lives of believers when they too lose loved ones as the disciples were about to lost Jesus. They grieved his loss as anyone else would grieve and as Christians today grieve. These can be hard and confusing times when nothing seems to make sense and it God feels distant. But when a believer dies, other believers can celebrate because of the living hope of resurrection that Jesus offers. Nothing more could be more reassuring than that, but what else is true is that it will be the last of such partings. The perishable is traded for immortality, so death will be no more!
Lord, help me to see your hope clearly when it is hard to see anything at all!
Read: John 8:12-30
Jesus is again confronted by the Pharisees concerning his testimony while he is teaching. They were looking for yet another way to discredit him, and this time they were going after his testimony about himself. Jewish law required the testimony of at least two people (Deuteronomy 17:6, Deuteronomy 19:15). Jesus answers them saying that his testimony is true because the Father testified about him. Earlier, Jesus had been confronted by the Jews concerning his testimony (John 5:31-47). Jesus lays out five different elements that testify to himself: The Spirit, The Father, John, The Scriptures, and his deeds. Jesus had also called out in the temple (John 7:28) saying that they did know where he came from, but what they refused to believe it because of their personal agendas.
When Jesus says that he is the Light of the World, he is talking about the light that he brings, which is truth. The truth exposes sin and illuminates the hearts and minds of those who believe (John 1:4-9). Jesus basically is declaring that the Pharisees did not have the light. John notes that they did not know that Jesus was speaking from his Father (John 8:27), were lost in their sin and would die without the knowledge of Christ (John 8:24). John 7 says that they knew that Jesus was of God, but what John 8 makes clears is that because of their refusal to believe in Jesus, that they were blinded by their sin and would die therein. When Jesus spoke these things, many believed because they realized that they needed the light to free them from their sin.
Refusing to believe in Jesus has dire consequences: being dead in one’s sin. This means that after one dies, he will be judged according to his faith in Jesus. If what Jesus is saying is true (which it is), then was trying to save their lives from the eternal consequences of sin. It does not seem that the Pharisees were altogether without hope, as some like Nicodemus were open to hearing him out. He says that after he is lifted up, they would see that he was truly who he says he was. Christians today live after Jesus is lifted up, and Jesus says that he is drawing all men to himself. Some will reject him and die in their sins, but others will surrender and let Jesus save their life as only he can do. Belief is not impossible for those that resist God to see, so there is hope yet for those who do not yet believe. Christians should never give up hoping that more will be saved, even the most stubborn hearted people.
Lord, you are the Light of the World! Shine your light brightly on those who resist you the most so they can see you, repent, and believe!