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Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.               John 8: 12


During recent weeks in Jersey the political hustings have taken place – at length. But that’s all over. Today we know those who have been elected to serve in the States of Jersey, the Island’s legislature.


No doubt many of us have been won over by the words that have been spoken and written by the candidates - by their manifestos in fact.  For the first time the States of Jersey Privileges and Procedures Committee published all manifestos in one document distributed to all households – a keepsake to hold our representatives accountable.


The words of Jesus in bold above are in similar format to most of the published candidate manifestos: first, a statement of who I am; second, a statement of what I intend to achieve.


“I am an accountant by profession...” “I was an elected politician in London....” “I introduced shared equity housing....” “I was born in St Saviour on the farm where I still live...”


By contrast Jesus identified himself, “I am the light (Greek phos = that which shines or provides illumination - from which we derive the English word ‘phosphorous’) of the world (Greek kosmos from which we derive ‘cosmos’). No budding Jersey politician made such a claim. And one must remember that this claim was made by a man – a man whose teaching was self-effacing, whose compassionate healing power was omnipotent, and who, when later unlawfully executed as a criminal, rose from the dead.....


But what about the meat of the manifestos – the things that the now-elected political leaders will be achieving on behalf of all Jersey folk?


“I will ensure that we develop better European connections....” “I will try and remove GST from food...” “I am very protective of our independence...” And (some uncertainty here) “I shall work to achieve what parishioners want.”


By contrast Jesus’ manifesto made far-reaching promises. “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness (Greek skotia = obscurity – from which we derive  the medical term ’scotoma’ meaning a blind spot), but will have the light (Greek phos as before and therefore the light of Jesus) of life (Greek zoe = the life which the ever-living God has in himself).”


What an amazing manifesto promise. The man Jesus who is the “light of the world - the “illumination of the cosmos” - promises to those who follow him that they will not walk in darkness but will share in the light of the ever-living God and of his son, Christ Jesus.


But. But. Manifestos aren’t adhered to, are they? Today, we remain sceptical that those we elected earlier this week will actually deliver..... What about Jesus?


By contrast, Jesus, shortly after making the statement in bold above, saw a man blind from birth. Here is someone who needs “the light of life.” Will Jesus deliver? An acid test! Born blind means born without the equipment necessary to enable him to see anything other than darkness.........


Jesus’ disciples discuss the man and debate what brought him into this condition. Who sinned? His parents? Or was it he himself? How can he ever begin to see? Jesus says that he was born blind so that the works of God might be “manifested” in him......


Then he says (as if to confirm his clear manifesto) “As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.” And he spits on the ground, makes a mud paste and anoints the man’s eyes with it. “Go, wash in the pool named Sent.” He went and washed and came back seeing.


No wonder many Jersey folk have decided to vote now and for ever for this man – and to place their trust in him. He’s the one Sent from heaven above, the one who is who he says he is, the one who delivers on his magnificent manifesto.

‘A man who can read the New Testament and not see that Christ claims to be more than a man can look all over the sky at noon on a cloudless day and will not see the sun.’  (W E Biederwolf, Army Chaplain and preacher, 1867-1939)
‘Jesus is God spelling himself out in a language that man can understand.’  (S D Gordon, speaker and writer, 1859-1936)
Richard Syvret

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