From the start of the gospel account of the life of Jesus, John wants all to see Jesus as the light that came into a world of darkness. With his first words, “In the beginning,” he takes us back to the very start of time in the world as we know it in Genesis 1:1. As the world then was described as being “without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep…” (Genesis 1:2), so the world was in darkness as God put on flesh and dwelt among men (John 1:14). In fact, John uses the concept of light to first describe Jesus. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it,” (John 1:4-5). He continues, “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world,” (John 1:9).
The Holy Spirit wants us to know without a doubt that light is a perfect description for us to understand and love Jesus. Two times in John’s gospel, Jesus would describe Himself as the light of the world. The first time Jesus describes Himself as the light of the world is found in John 8:12. You might recall that on that occasion a woman caught in the very act of adultery is brought to Jesus only as a test of the Jews to see what He would do with her. The second in a chapter later, John 9:5, where Jesus heals a man who had been blind from birth. In a very basic way, what do we learn about the light of the world? Examine them with me and notice two very important concepts that we must grasp as we consider Jesus to be the light of the world.
First, the light of the world improves people’s lives. Just ask the woman or the man born blind if their lives improved the day they met Jesus and it would be a “YES!!!” without hesitation. Their lives were darkened both physically and spiritually and meeting Jesus brought them astounding improvement. In a world of darkness, may we never forget the improvement that Jesus has made in our lives on a level that we must never take for granted. The Bible says that life for the man Jesus healed actually became very rough in the sense that he was excommunicated by the leaders of the Jews. However, do you think a day went by that he opened his eyes and didn’t thank Jesus for his improvement? Life can be very difficult in many ways, but may our eyes always be open to the improvement Jesus has made in them!
Second, the light of the world transforms people’s lives. In John 8, as Jesus is faced with the scene of the woman and her accusers, the Bible says for the only time that Jesus wrote. What did He write on the ground? Heaven only knows at this point, but one wonders if it wasn’t the word, grace. The grace of Jesus ruled the day for her and continues to rule the day for each of us. Jesus is the very embodiment of grace. Only through Jesus is the grace of God that brings salvation made available to all men (Titus 2:11-14). No, grace does allow us to live in the continued practice of sin – see the same context – but the fact that grace is available to make salvation possible should transform our lives to live not conformed to this world, but according to the perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).
So much can and must be said concerning the Light of the world. In truth, Jesus came to save the world from outer darkness. Eternal punishment is described with that expression, not just darkness, but darkness that goes beyond darkness. However, in Jesus we have the ability to be saved and to live with Him eternally in a place that Bible says, “Had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light,” (Revelation 21:23)
May we help the world to see the improvement and transformation the Light of the world can make in their lives! May we never fail to see this in our own lives. May we strive to be the light of the world, simply reflecting Him for all the world to see.