“Guru” is 1 of those words I just like the sound of. Guru also gives great insight into the life of Jesus. But what’s a “Guru”? Guru is a Sanskrit word, typically defined as “one with great knowledge and wisdom.” It’s one I hear in India often. Though Jesus fits the definition of one with great knowledge and wisdom, it’s the make up of the word that gives insight into Jesus life. Gu in Guru stands for darkness, Ru in Guru means light. Literally, a Guru takes someone from the darkness into the light. That’s what leaders do. That’s what John tells us as he opens his gospel account. (Thanks to Kevin Hall’s book, Aspire for this background for the meaning of guru.)
Into the Gu, God sends the Ru. We call that Christmas. Theologians call it the “Incarnation.” God takes on human flesh. Into the darkness, into the mess, comes the light. God’s own Son is born in a manger, a feeding trough for animals. That’s kind of ironic because in our day when you see a nativity scene, it’s not a mess. Our manger scenes are clean and tidy. Clean bath robes on the shepherds. Well behaved (or stuffed) animals. But where Jesus was born, there was a mess. Into the gu, into our mess, Jesus comes as the Run to give us light.
The Ru brings life to those dead in the Gu. We call that what Jesus did on the cross. Theologians call it “Justification”. Jesus pays the price for our darkness, that we might have light, that we might have life. John describes the human condition as: We walk in darkness, apart from God, apart from His presence and goodness. Darkness is spoken of some 200 times in the Bible. It’s a picture of life apart from God, apart from His direction, His wisdom, His love and care. We are foolish, ignorant, or confused; that is darkness. We fumble around. We hurt people. We become afraid. We walk in darkness. Jesus meets us in our darkness, and gives us His light, even more He gives His life that we might life.
The Ru guides us through the Gu. We call that Jesus guiding presence in every day life. Theologians call that “Sanctification”, the life we live empowered by the light of Christ. A lighthouse guides a ship away from the rocks in the water. A beacon guides home an airplane in the darkness of the night.The reflectors on the highway in the median will guide a driver through the fog.
Perhaps most amazing of all, Jesus the Guru sends us out as His gurus into this world. In John 8, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” In Matthew 5, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” In a world that loves the darkness more than the light, that loves the Gu more than the Ru. God calls us to not only follow the Ru into the Gu, He calls us to be the Ru amidst the Gu. That’s what leaders do.
So what Gu do you find yourself facing today? How is the Ru shining His light in you and even more through you? Shine bright today. Follow the Ru into the Gu.