“I am the light of the world”

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The world needs the shining truth and love of Jesus

by Aaron Halvorseen

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Before sun, moon or stars shone, creation was bathed in light by the voice of God, which dispelled darkness and separated day from night. The rest of biblical history is a story of God filling creation’s dark crevices with his divine light.

The light of God’s presence led the Israelites in their liberation from Egypt (Exod. 13:21-22). So God is praised as their light and salvation (Ps. 27:1), whose word lights their path (Ps. 119:105). Tragically God’s people strayed, preferring sin and darkness. They needed enlightenment—liberation from blindness and redemption by light (Isa. 42:7). Such salvation comes by God’s chosen servant, who restores Israel and brings light to Gentiles (Isa. 49:6). Thus God’s people would not walk by sun or moon, but by God’s radiant, glorious light (Isa. 60:19-22). The Old Testament uses light as a picture of the life, presence, glory and salvation of God for Israel to the ends of the earth.

Then in John 8:12 we see Jesus of Nazareth at the Feast of Tabernacles claiming he is the light of the world and that whoever follows him will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. This is no small claim. This is not just a good man asserting an able willingness to help people in need. This is a royal confession of divinity, a declaration that he is the longed-for Messiah bringing God’s salvation. He is the one and only Savior, the light of the world.  He is God’s great global illumination plan.

This Christ-centered plan astoundingly involves God’s people. We who were once in darkness are now children of the light (Eph. 5:8-9), shining in darkness (2 Peter 1:19). “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14).  We have been sent by Christ in service of God’s plan to dismantle darkness with light and life.

The world is a dark place. News headlines, YouTube comments and our hearts all verify this. The world needs light, and we are tasked to bear that light. This can only be done by taking God’s light into the darkness. Our winsomeness, wisdom, generosity, strength and beauty are not enough. Apart from Christ, we have nothing to offer this world. We only add dark to darkness, midnight to black. We are faithful to our light-bearing mission only by shining the truth and love of Jesus.

Revelation depicts light’s final victory.  There, John portrays a new creation where sun and moon do not shine, but heaven’s citizens walk by God’s glory and the lamp of the Lamb (Rev. 21:22-27). This is no description of heavenly astronomical physics, but a vision of a reborn world where holiness has conquered sin by virtue of the Son of God. It is the culmination of God’s plan, light overcoming darkness through the Light of the world. May we all follow him and thereby have the light of life.

Aaron Halvorsen is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a USMB congregation in Olathe, Kan.

CL Archives
This article is part of the CL Archives. Articles published between August 2017 and July 2008 were posted on a previous website and are archived here for your convenience. We have also posted occasional articles published prior to 2008 as part of the archive. To report a problem with the archived article, please contact the CL editor at editor@usmb.org.

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