And Jesus cried out and said, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” John 12:44 Jesus shouts that He is the light of the world! In this scream heard around the world Jesus, the faithful witness, loudly proclaims that the biosphere will be in a frightful deadening darkness without Him. The original word for shout or yell in the Greek New Testament is krazo. It means to yell with the possible implication of the unpleasant nature of the sound-‘to shout, to scream.’
Jesus is bold in proclaiming the truth as were His early followers. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” Act 4:13 Boldness is used for the Greek word parrēsia which means with all (pan) speech (reo). We might translate it “say all”.
Is it possible that we Christians are too timid to speak openly about Christ? Is there too much of a false tolerance which comes from a lack of faith and convictions? Are we in reality more influenced by fear of rejection than by a genuine search for truth. True tolerance comes from a deep respect of others and of the truth, not from an anxiety of being disparaged by others for telling the truth. Having an open mind hopefully does not mean that our brains fall out!
G. K. Chesterton puts it so well when he observed: “Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” I guess truth is risky. It separates us from the crowd. We are tempted to seek safety in an anonymous state! “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.” John 12:42
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.