Salvation ... comes from the Lord ... because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Light of the World

The Gospel of John in the Bible shows Jesus as the LIght of the world.  The world needs Light to sustain life.  
In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:4-5).  The world is a dark, broken, hopeless place withut Light.   The greatest hope for mankind is Jesus coming to this earth.  Every person has a choice to receive Light or remain in darkness.  
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world (John 1:6-9).  Physical sight is only possible with light.  Seeing cannot happen without light.  Discerning and believing truth is only possible with the Light.  True spirituality cannot happen without the Light.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.  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.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God”  (John 3:16-21).
If you’ve been in church and/ or hung around people of Christian faith for any length of time, you’ve at least heard the John 3:16 verse quoted.  So let’s shed some more Light on the context of that verse as quoted above.  Believing in Jesus (the Light) is what saves our soul from eternal damnation. Our belief in Jesus is also something that grows.  It begins with a conversion experience, and then continues to bring more and more of our fears and evil deeds into the Light.  We need the Light every day of our lives.  We need Jesus to shine his Light into the still-darkened parts of our heart.  Our heart is like a house with many rooms.  Inviting Jesus into our heart brings Light into the first room he enters.  As time moves along, we open more doors (leading to darkened rooms) for him to enlighten.  As more lights go on in the rooms of our heart, more darkness flees, and we reep more benefits of living in the Light.  This is a journey of surrender.  We surrender our right to keep doors closed to hide dark rooms, and allow Jesus to open the doors and turn on the Light.  Practically, this means surrendering bad things we say and do, bad habits, bitterness towards people, and long-standing beliefs not based on truth.  It may even mean surrendering good things that are keeping you from God’s best.  Good works do not chase away darkness.  Only the Light conquers the dark.  
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "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).  Not only did John and others witness Jesus as the LIght, but Jesus himself declared it.  Following Jesus is the only way to avoid darkness in this world.  Is your soul longing to cast off the darkness of this world?  Are you willing to let Jesus turn the lights on for you?  
Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."  "But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?" Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light.  It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light" (John 11:7-10).  Jesus did not condemn those who disagreed or even tried to kill him.  He simply saw them as people stumbling in their darkness.  
Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.  Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.   Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.  This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"  For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:   "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn - and I would heal them."  Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him. Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;  for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.  Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.  When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.  I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:35-46).   Light brings health.  Light recovers wholeness.  Light restores relationship with Father God.  The words in this paragraph are quoted closer to the end of Christ’s life and ministry.  Jesus again draws attention to revealing Father’s Love through Light.  Jesus proved himself as a trustworthy source of Light.  Yet many rejected this Light, and still many do today.
Except for John 5:35 and John 9:5, I quoted all the verses in John that mention the word “light” (at least according to the NIV translation of the Bible). John testifies to the Light, and the Light testifies to the Father.   My prayer is that Jesus becomes a greater source of Light in your life.  No matter how close or far you feel from God, the Light of Jesus Christ shines for you to find your way to Father’s Love.
 by Ed Hersh, BnB Healing Ministry