"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
My Dad's church is doing a series on the "I AM" statements of Jesus. A wonderful idea. My Dad is speaking on the second of these phrases "I AM the Light of the World" this Sunday. When he was telling me this, it got me thinking about what it means. I figured I'd record briefly some of my thinking's about it.
Well first of all it is important to note that the heart of the gospel is the truth about Jesus. In fact the heart of the bible is truth; and truth is Jesus. Everything we read from the bible points to Jesus.
The context of Jesus' statement about being the light of the world is in relation to John 7:2. The Feast of the Tabernacles was near and one of the aspects of the this feast was the burning of candles. By doing this the Jews were recalling the fact that God had been a light to them in the wilderness when they had come out of Egypt. He led them by the pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21). God has always been a Light to his people (Numbers 14:14)
When Jesus says he is the Light of the World, He is saying that he is the fulfilment of that light of God. The light that Jesus brings is not a candle type light - it is a blazing fire. A brilliant light, like the light of the sun. Like the pillar of fire or the cloud of glory. Malachi puts it well when he calls Jesus the "Sun of righteousness". Christ came into the world blazing with the glory of God. The glory of God is the goodness of God.
Jesus says in Luke 4:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
This is what it means for Jesus to be the Light of the World. It was about bringing life. John 1:4 describes Jesus this way, "In him was life, and that life was the light of men."
Jesus came to give us abundant life, shining light in the midst of our darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6).
The thing about light is that it is the complete opposite of darkness. It is the opposing force. The opposing force that ALWAYS wins out. Rev 21:23. Light exposes darkness
John 3:19-20, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed."
I listened to a Greg Boyd sermon this morning on my way into work and he spoke about a cockroach infestation he once had in his closet. He was always fascinated that when he turned the light on they would scarper. They could not handle the light so they fled. So many times our lives can be full of cockroaches, things that we let fester in the darkness. pride, lust, greed. We must expose them to the light, the light of Jesus. Jesus says he is the light of the world, but we must open our hearts to this light and let him expose our darkness. It can be such a hard thing to do, but it is so true that when truth is brought in, the father of lies scarpers.
One point about this example is that the Light exposes the truth. The truth that there are cockroaches in the closet. The truth that we are sinful men. Fallen, diseased and broken. Jesus being our light is not Jesus showing us a good way to live so we can be happy, it is Jesus showing us Himself and his truth and therefore our need. Our need that is Him. Our darkness so that we focus on his light. his marvelous light, the light that took away the power of sin and the sting of death.
Another thing light does is it helps us grow. Just as plants need light to grow, so we need to light of Jesus to grow in Him. We need his light to shine on the very darkest places to first expose them, and them the light will cause us to grow. The presence of Jesus purifies us and changes us from the inside out. He, as the word, is "the light to our feet and the lamp to our path(s)" (Psalm 119:105) We need to constantly look to Jesus. All of our being needs to be pointed towards him.
This light also brings reassurance. As my favourite Psalm says
"The Lord is my LIGHT and my salvation, whom shall i fear."
Whom shall i fear? no-one. The powers of darkness have been defeated. The Lord doesn't teach us about the light, show us the light, tell us were the light is; He IS the light. Everything good and perfect and beautiful and radiant and majestic comes from Him. He is.
The important thing for us as believers who are living for Jesus; as the truth is revealed in us, we are commanded to not hide this light. We are to let is shine in every area of our lives, so that others may see. It doesn't matter how much light we have, it matters what we do with the light we have. If we hide it, we loose it. People need the light. Praise Jesus that we can be used to reveal it to others in the smallest and biggest ways. From words of encouragement, acts of kindness to sacrificing our lives for others in the name of Jesus. May his glorious light shine.