Summary: Jesus’ proclamation that he is the light of the world holds powerful image for us, and helps us to understand how Jesus moves in our lives and ministers to our needs.
John 16-13, 8:12 “I Am the Light of the World”
Each and every one of us has different pictures, or images, of Jesus and how he moves in our lives. Many of us imagine Jesus as our friend. Of course, this picture is expressed by the popular, old time hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” The idea that Jesus is our friend emphasizes the concept of relationship. Jesus is someone with whom we can hang out, with whom we can share our problems and struggles, and who will help us in our time of need.
Another popular image of Jesus is that of Lord. This picture brings with it the idea of discipleship and service. Seeing Jesus as Lord opens us up entirely new aspects of Jesus’ movement in our lives.
In this sermon series for the New Year entitled “Discover Jesus,” we want to discover new facets of Jesus’ activity in our lives. Our purpose is to be open to new experiences of Jesus and to deepen our faith in him.
THE IMAGE OF LIGHT
The image of light is not unique to Jesus, when he tells the Jews who were gathered around him that he was the “Light of the World.” Many cultures picture their deities to be light or sources of light. The most notable of the cultures is that of the Egyptians.
The God of the Old Testament was a God of light. God appeared to Moses as a burning bush. God lead the people of Israel out of slavery into the promised land by appearing to them as a pillar of fire at night an a cloud by day. This image was called the Shikinah Glory.
The image of light is a powerful picture of God.
¨ We are drawn to the light, like moths to a flickering flame. We are drawn to a fireplace on a cold evening, or a street lamp on a dark night.
¨ Light cannot be contained. Light has no shape or form. You can’t hold it in your hand, or close it up in a box.
LIGHT GIVES GROWTH
I have three bougainvillea bushes on the north side of my house. They are green and healthy, but they rarely bear any beautiful red flowers. They don’t get enough light on that side of the house. They need light to bloom.
All plants need light in which to grow. Even plants that like shade need light. They can’t exist in a perpetual darkness of night. Jesus says that he is the light and life of creation.
Jesus the light of the world shines in our lives.
¨ Jesus provides us with physical sustenance in order to live.
¨ Jesus shines in our lives and causes us to grow spiritually.
¨ Jesus enables us to grow the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. These in turn enable us to light more brightly for Jesus in our lives and to reflect the light of Christ in our lives and in our world.
THE LIGHT PIERCES THE DARKNESS
Darkness cannot co-exist with light. Light pierces the darkness and destroys its hold on life. The flame of one small candle pierces the darkness. The light from many candles can overcome the darkness.
Jesus says that those who walk in the light shall never walk in darkness. Once the light has shined, the darkness cannot overcome it.
Jesus shines in our darkness.
¨ Jesus shines and gives us understanding and guidance when we are confused.
¨ Jesus shines and gives us hope in the middle of our struggles.
¨ As we battle evil, Jesus shines and breaks the force of evil.
Jesus is the Light of the World. Jesus is the light of our lives. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what Jesus means when he proclaims that he is light. Along with the proclamation, however, comes the invitation to experience Jesus as the light of our lives, and to allow that light to shine brightly in our world, piercing the darkness that surrounds us.