Summary: Jesus calls Himself the light of the world. And I think we can simply study what effect physical light has on the areas that it touches and gain some spiritual lessons from that.
If you remember, last Sunday morning I spoke to you about how God described Himself as the I AM and what all that means to us today. It’s good to know that God is, that He does not change, and that He can be everything we need Him to be. Well, tonight I want to begin a series that will span over the next 4 or 5 weeks that focuses, again, on those two words, I AM. But now we’re going to be looking at the words of Jesus that can be found in the book of John.
Throughout this Gospel we hear Jesus giving us insight to who He is and what He’s about. Several times we hear Him say, “I AM…” For instance, in John 6:35 Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” In chapter 10:9 He says, “I am the door.” John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Several other times Jesus tells us who He is. And each of those images that He offers gives us a glimpse into His character. Tonight we are going to look at the description that Jesus gives of Himself in John 8:12. Jesus says “I am the light of the world.”
Back in the days before electricity, a tightfisted old farmer was taking one of his hired hands to task for carrying a lighted lantern when he went to call on his girlfriend. “Why,” he exclaimed, “when I went a-courtin’ I never carried one of them things, I always went in the dark.” “Yeah,” the man said,” but look at the wife you ended up with!”
Can you imagine a world without light? Can you imagine who you would have ended up marrying if you had to choose them in the dark? Pretty scary idea, isn’t it? By the looks of who you’re sitting by, I think some of you did choose your mate in the dark. Light is essential to so many activities that we take part in. It’s impossible to do much work in the dark. It’s difficult to do anything in the dark for that matter. Can you picture yourself playing baseball or golf in pitch black? What about reading? Think you could do that in the dark? Would you want to hammer a nail in the dark or cut some trim, Jeff? Light is so important to pretty much everything that we involve ourselves in.
In fact, light is not only essential to our ability to participate in activity, but it is essential to our survival. Every living thing upon earth depends upon light. If you deprive a plant of light long enough it will wither and die. If you deprive an animal of light long enough it will cause it to become confused as well as physically and mentally weakened. Deprive a person of light long enough and it can cause disorientation and depression. Light is essential to life.
Today we are living in a world of extreme spiritual darkness. Immorality, drugs and alcohol, suicide, abortion, hatred, and deceit permeate our society. Over the past 30 years violent crime has risen over 500%; illegitimate births have increased over 400%, especially among teens; divorce rates have quadrupled and the single parent home has become the norm; and there has been a 200% increase in teen suicides. Our culture has become a culture that is openly hostile towards Christian values. It has become a place adamantly opposed to God. We live in spiritually dark times in our world.
But I believe that it was to us that Jesus is saying, “I am the light of the world.” I believe that we can take encouragement from the verse in Is. 9:2 that says “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” I believe there is hope because Jesus is the light that can make a difference in the spiritual darkness of today.
I want us to take some time, this evening, talking about what Jesus is saying when He calls Himself the light of the world. And I think we can simply study what effect physical light has on the areas that it touches and gain some spiritual lessons from that. What does light do?
I. Light Reveals The Need- John 3:19
First of all, one thing that light always does is reveal the need. A couple of weeks ago a few of us were over in the parsonage doing some work. Cora and Mary and I were upstairs doing some painting. Jeff had been doing some work where I was going to be painting that had required us to shut off the electricity in that room, so we just had the daylight to work with up there. As time went on and we were working away, eventually the sun went down and I was trying to paint that room in the dark. Well, I did as much as I could and then moved on to the hallway where we had some light to work with. We packed up that night and the next morning I walked over there to see how everything was looking.