12 Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." (NAS)
Recently the Women's Missionary Union celebrated their 100th Anniversary. On the Centennial's closing night , in a ceremony with emotional impact for many, while missionaries carried lighted candles into the dimmed Richmond Coliseum, 11,000 WMU representatives held aloft small flashlights to symbolize Christians as the light of the world.
There is somewhat of a similar setting to the words Jesus spoke. "I
am the light of the world. Jesus spoke these words while standing in the
section of the temple called "The Court of Women". In this section there
were large candelabra. As part of the feast of tabernacles they were lighted.
This light flooded the temple and then the people could look to the light
and be reminded of the pillar of fire in the wilderness. The ceremony took
place on the first night and perhaps all seven nights of the feast. But,
when Jesus stood in the temple they were not lit and His words call attention
to His Messiahship. Truly He is the spiritual light of the world. Let us
consider these words.
This gospel phrases the same truth in slightly different words. Notice:
John 1:4, "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:9, "There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
John 3:19, "And this is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.
John 9:5, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
It is said in Matthew 5:12, that we who are Christians are the light of the world. That is true as we become reflections of Jesus. It is His light in us that enables us to be light.
Someone tried to make a criticism of a few Christians by saying, "You're just a bunch of moonshiners." They thought this was a put-down, but one of the Christians came back and said, "We're glad you noticed, for you see moonlight is a reflection of the sun. We are moonshiners because we reflect the Son.
The claim is made by Jesus. The statement is given that Christians are
the light of the world. It that claim evident in our life: Please follow
The list could go on, but that is enough to cause us to think. How much contrast is there in our life because of the light. All who are Christians must have some light. All of us should desire more spiritual brightness.
There is an allegory written for the little ones, but serviceable to the grown folks: Once upon a time a cave lived under the ground, as caves have the habit of doing. It had spent its lifetime in darkness. It heard a voice calling to it, "Come up into the light; come and see the sunshine. The cave retorted, "I don't know what you mean; there isn't anything but darkness." Finally the cave ventured forth and was surprised to see light everywhere. The Sun asked, "What is darkness? The cave replied, "Come and see." One day the Sun accepted the invitation. As it entered the cave it said, "Now show me your darkness!" But there was no darkness.
That story can be true for us as we help others find the light. Now
notice point three.
Two young people were walking along a path in the Catskill Mountains. Their conversation had turned to a mutual acquaintance. The young man said, "She has what I call a radiant personality." "That's right," agreed the young woman. "How do you account for it?" They walked along for a few moments, and the, pointing across the river , he said: "See that wonderful old castle?" You know, when I was a small boy, my playmates and I loved to sit on the bank and look across at it. We could tell what was going on there by the number of lights that were burning. If only the family were present, just a few lights would be seen. When guests were entertained, there would be many lights, and the palace became truly beautiful. Once a member of a royal family visited there, and you should have seen the brilliance." The young couple's discussion wandered back to their acquaintance. "I think the only way her radiant personality can be explained is that she is constantly entertaining a Royal Guest." suggested the young lady. He agreed.
Does it appear that we are entertaining Royalty? Sometimes we are bogged down by some critical remarks or a negative thought. If we focus on Jesus, the light of the world, and follow him, we will radiate the light of our royal guest.
Another illustration broadens our understanding of these words of Jesus. A tourist brought back from Germany a little phosphorescent match-safe. One evening he decided to show it to some of his friends. He turned off all the lights, but the obstinate little match-safe had no shine to it. He concluded that he had been swindled.
The next day, while examining his purchase more closely, he read on one side, "If you wish me to shine, keep me in the sunlight." He followed the directions, put it out where the sun's rays could be absorbed, and when he placed in the dark room found that it had a brilliant glow.
We must do as the words of Jesus instruct "he who follows me...shall have the light..." Now notice point four.
A child heard that Christians were saints. On one occasion she was taken to a cathedral. She sat watching the sunshine through the windows. She asked her mother, "What are these people on the window? They are saints," was the answer. Then the child said, "Now I know what saints are. They are people who let the light shine through.
Are you presently, I mean right now, a saint? The Bible indicates saints are those made holy through the work of Christ. Because of our receiving His Grace we can have light.
We have looked at the words of Jesus as He claimed to be "the bread
of heaven", the light of the world and the quencher of spiritual thirst.
Each of these statements can only be true if Jesus is the only begotten
Son of God. If He is not the Son of God, the uniquely diving Son of God,
then He is an imposter and a liar. What do you say? I say He is the Lord
Jesus, my Lord and Savior. He gives light. Do you want this light?