John 8:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
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.”
Have you considered where would we be without light? When you walk into a dark room, do you automatically reach for the switch on the wall to turn on the lights? You probably expect the light to turn on, and I suspect do not give it much thought. What happens when the light does not flick on and the room stays dark?
A case in point…In 2011, an unexpected outage rolled through Southern California leaving homes and businesses without electrical power for approximately eleven hours. It began in the late afternoon and as dusk fell, the darkness deepened with each passing hour. No ambient light came from digital alarm clocks, microwaves or computer screens. No nightlights comforted young children at bedtime. No street lights lit the affected neighborhoods. It was eerily quiet and a bit unnerving. This event made it very obvious to all involved how dependent we are on light in our daily lives.
If you think about it, light has basically five functions:
**it dispels darkness and reveals what may be hidden
**it illuminates what is beautiful
**it gives warmth
**it causes growth
**it sustains life
Light = the absence of darkness
When God created the world, it was dark and empty. “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:3-4 (NIV) He divided the dark from the light and created night and day.
Again in the Old Testament, we see how He used a pillar of fire and light to lead the Israelites out of the darkness of slavery in Egypt into the promised land. Exodus 13:21 (NIV) “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”
Thinking of Jesus as light brings to mind the image of that pillar of fire. He leads us out of the darkness of sin into the light of life.
Can we compare Jesus to the five functions of light?
He shines light on the sin in our lives- not to shame us but rather to reveal what entangles us.
He displays the beauty of creation.
He exudes warmth and love when we feel unloved.
He causes us to grow.
He gives and sustains our life.
Not only does Jesus proclaim to be the Light of the World but He encourages us to be a light in our world as well. In Matthew 5:14, He tells us: “You are the world’s light—a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see.” (The Living Bible)
Do you see these words of Jesus as an obligation, as a duty, as an honor, as a challenge, as something to weigh you down, or as an invitation?
What does it mean to you to be a light unto the world? As you ponder this question, you might enjoy this song by Chris Tomlin: “Here I am to Worship“