In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 4-5, 9, 14 (NIV)
John writes these verses at the beginning of his account of the life of Jesus Christ. He refers to Jesus as ‘the true light that gives light to everyone.’
In chapter eight of John’s account, a group of religious men bring a woman caught in adultery before Jesus and challenge him to stone her in accordance with the law. Jesus says, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he is silent. One by one, from the oldest to the youngest, the accusers depart until the only one left with the woman is Jesus. He doesn’t condemn this woman but tells her to leave her life of sin. (John 8: 1-11)
Then John writes:
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 (NIV)
John referred to Jesus as the light that gives light to everyone. Here, Jesus claims to be the light of the world and says his followers will have the light of life. What does this all mean?
Light brings illumination, it makes what is hidden in darkness seen. Light exposes.
- Consider the impact of Jesus’ words on the accusers of the woman caught in adultery.
- How did Jesus shed light? What did his light expose?
Light also comforts us—in the dark we don’t see the obstacles in our path, we are unaware of danger, but the simple beam from a flashlight gives assurance and we can walk without hindrance.
- Consider the heart of the woman, probably half-dressed, before these men who claim the right stone her to death.
- Surely, the woman felt shame. But how did Christ’s light bring comfort?
I often equate light and truth. I do not always embrace the light of exposure because my thoughts, words, and actions are not purely motivated. I know my heart has the tendency to be selfish and proud.
Truth, however, is something I deeply desire. In Christ, I am not afraid of where the search for truth will take me. Because of the grace and love of Christ, shame and even self-condemnation lose power over me. In the end the truth brings me freedom, and freedom gives life.
Jesus said his followers would never walk in darkness but would have the light of life. We are to reflect the light and love of Christ. We are his ambassadors to the world.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 3:14-16 (NIV)
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him…John 1: 11 (NIV)
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”