“I am the Light of the World”

24 February 2021

12Again 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.” 13So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” ~ John 8.12-12

Throughout the history of  Israel, the glory of God was both a comfort and a danger. During their 40-year trek through the wilderness God’s glory was visible during the day in the pillar of cloud and at night in the pillar of fire. The pillar and cloud were visible and comforting reminders of God’s presence, provision, and protection. However, the glory of God would kill anyone who entered His presence without His invitation.

When Moses ascended Mt. Sinai to receive the 10 commandments, God’s glory descended in a thick cloud accompanied by thunder and lightning. The descent of God’s glory was a transcendent reminder that He dwells in unapproachable light and none but a chosen few were permitted to enter His presence.  Then Jesus the Word became flesh and everything changed.

John says it this way in John 1.14; “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” As the glory of God in human flesh, Jesus came not to kill us, but to die for us. Jesus came not to condemn us, but to redeem us.  Jesus came not to judge us, but to bring us the Good News that whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. 

As the light of the world Jesus is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in human flesh.

Jesus Christ is the human face of God’s glory. He is the glory of God in real life and real time. He humbled Himself, taking the form of a servant, yet not even the drab colors of our humanity could diminish the tera-watt brilliance of His multi-colored glory. The writer of Hebrews, himself a Jew, describes Jesus this way in Hebrews 1.3,

“He (i.e., Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.”

The apostle Paul adds his own description with an eloquent turn of phrase in 2 Corinthians 4.6,

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ.” (NET)

When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” He declared Himself to be God because light is the DNA of divinity. In 1 John 1.5b, the Bible says, “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” What does this look like? Think about what light does/provides.

  • Light exposes and reveals. Jesus exposes who we are without Him and reveals what we can become by following Him.
  • Light helps things grow and mature. Jesus helps us grow and mature.
  • Light provides comfort and security. Think of children who cannot sleep unless they have a nightlight. Jesus gives us comfort and security.
  • Light gives light and guidance. Jesus gives us light and guidance.
  • Light gives us courage and hope. Jesus gives us courage and hope.

As the Light of the world Jesus is the human face of God’s glory. He creates a fusion between reality and grace. Jesus makes it possible for us to match His face with the voice of God. He also makes it possible for us to follow Him out of the darkness.

Jesus is the life of all who trust in Him.

In John 1.4-5, the Bible says, “In Him (i.e., Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” The it John refers to is the light shining in the darkness. He is Jesus, the Light of the world. The  darkness has not overcome Him because He possesses all the authority necessary to dispel the darkness shrouding our heart, mind and soul. The darkness will never overcome the light because it is the nature of the Light  to shine. Whenever and wherever light it shines it scatters the darkness. There is a sense of inevitability to light. Once it starts to shine it cannot be stopped. Think about the sunrise. Once the fingers of the sun’s rays grab the horizon, nothing can stop it from pulling itself over the horizon and rising into the sky.

For people living in darkness the light is their enemy. The light is also their salvation but when you live in the dark any amount of light feels like lemon juice in a paper cut, or salt in a wound. It hurts. The light exposes our faults, shows our flaws and reveals our past. Darkness hides the pain of our past, the emptiness of our present, and the hopelessness of our future. But it cannot remove the pain, fill the emptiness, or impart hope. Even in the darkness these things remain.

Light reveals problems that the darkness allows us to ignore, escape and forget. What we can’t see we don’t have to deal with.  What we don’t have to deal with can’t cause us any pain. Or so we think. In our darkened state of mind we trust the darkness to hide us from the searching eyes of a gracious God. Somehow we deceive ourselves into believing we can cover ourselves with the darkness like a blanket. But the blanket is too thin to block out the light and too short to cover our sin and shame. We may fear the darkness, but in our sin we fear the light even more.

Then Jesus comes and asks us, “Do you really want to live this way? Is this the life you really want?” As the light of the world Jesus is the life we’ve been looking for. He is the wellspring of joy we’ve been thirsting for. He is the satisfaction we’ve been hungering for.

We may not know where Jesus will lead us, but of this we can be certain: He is leading us into the light. He is the Light. He is trustworthy. He will never lead us astray. He will never abandon us. He will never forsake us. 

His Love Can Never Fail is an old hymn written by E.S. Hall. The hymn describes the trustworthiness of Christ as He leads us through this life into the life beyond this life. It says,

I do not ask to see the way
My feet will have to tread;
But only that my soul may feed
Upon the living bread.
‘Tis better far that I should walk
By faith close to His side,
I may not know the way I go,
But oh, I know my Guide.

And if my feet would go astray,
They cannot, for I know
That Jesus guides my falt’ring steps,
As joyfully I go.
And tho’ I may not see His face,
My faith is strong and clear
That in each hour of sore distress,
My Savior will be near.

I will not fear, tho’ darkness come
Abroad o’er all the land,
If I may only feel the touch
Of His own loving hand.
And tho’ I tremble when I think
How weak I am, how frail,
My soul is satisfied to know
His love can never fail.

Be strong and courageous. Our Guide is Jesus, the Light of the world. And His love can never fail.

You think about that.

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