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Christ, the Light of Life

(John 8:12-20; 12:35-46)

Lesson 9 -- first quarter 2007
January 28, 2007

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2007

Who is the light of the World?

Jesus said plainly, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). The lives of many Christians indicate that they are quite satisfied with the answer and would like to leave it at that. I do not mean to imply that such an answer is unsatisfactory or incorrect or incomplete. However, I want us to remember that some other things Jesus said tell us that the answer encompasses more than Jesus Himself. Listen:

"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5). Does this mean that when He left the world He ceased to be the light of the world? Maybe we can indirectly answer that question with another: Is Jesus no longer in the world?

Now let's move on to another plain saying of Jesus: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid" (Matthew 5:14). His light burning in us also shines out through us.

So back to the question: Who is the light of the world? You are, my friend, if you are a Christian! "For God . . . hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Jesus' light is intended for the darkness -- "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness" (John 12:46). We see the darkness around us all the time. We can bemoan and shake our heads at the darkness, trim our lamps, and huddle together under our bushels, enjoying our programs and fellowship. Or we can sally forth into the highway and the byway and even the superhighway to shine our lights in the darkness of the world.

On what is your light shining?

Imagine yourself outside on a very dark night, looking for something you dropped on the ground earlier in the day. You and a friend are searching together, but you aren't the one carrying the only flashlight. Since it is so dark, you can only see whatever your friend chooses to illuminate with the flashlight. What if he uses the flashlight to first check the contents of his billfold, then the condition of his new shoes, then the status of the prize roses, then the identity of the unfamiliar sounds in the tree ahead? I can imagine myself eventually becoming disgusted with my friend. He cares about his interests, not my needs! He is being uncaring and self-absorbed. He definitely is not helping meet my needs nor fulfill my mission. Some friend! And why does he have that light, anyway?!

Remember what Jesus said? "Ye are the light of the world." On what is the light of your life shining? The lives of many Christians illuminate the wrong things. Their lights are distracting the unbelievers rather than helping them. They are using their lights to bring material and selfish interests into sight. No wonder many non-Christians have become disgusted with Christians!

I know that my analogy is quite flawed in that the light of Jesus in us really cannot be misused, else it ceases to be His light. However, I'm asking you to consider the light of your life, and ask yourself if it is the light of Jesus.

What are people saying about you?

I don't particularly enjoy the limelight nor do I care to be the focus of attention. I like to stay out of sight. (Occasionally I even have twinges of envy for the hermits and recluses.) In a sense, though, such hidden-ness and unobtrusiveness is wrong. Listen . . . .

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).

The light we have been given and the light we have become must be allowed to shine forth! We must not stay out of sight. We must allow our lives and good works to be seen so that the Father may receive glory.

Not only that, we must shine and our shining must be seen because "if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (2 Corinthians 4:3). But in our shining and in our standing out, let's make certain we attract people to Jesus, "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord" (2 Corinthians 4:5).

Now, to the question: What are people saying about you?

God had Paul write something very amazing about the early church in Rome: "Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (Romans 1:8). Which makes me wonder if my faith (and "my" light) is worth talking about, even just in my own small circle. And what is there to be said about you and your faith?

What are some good things that come from my walking in the Light?

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