Summary: Jesus, the light of the world, came to give us hope.
Light To A Dark World
Text: Jn. 1:6-13
1. Illustration: As Craig T. Kocher in his commentary on our text states, "Christian hope is fundamentally different from optimism. Christian hope locks its steely eyes on the devastation of the world around it, and readily acknowledges that things may not get better. Christian hope does not bury its heat in Yule-tide cheer and artificial lights, but like an Advent wreath glowing stronger and brighter each week, this hope pushes its way into the brokenness of the world clearing a path in the wilderness so the true light might burst into the darkness."
Kocher then goes on to cite a story told by Tom Long, about a rabbi Hugo Grynn, who was sent to Auschwitz as a little boy. In the midst of the concentration camp, in the midst of the death and horror all around them, many Jews held onto whatever shreds of their religious observances they could, without drawing the ire of the guards. One cold winter's evening, Hugo's father gathered the family in the barracks. It was the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Feast of Lights.
The young child watched in horror as his father took the family's last pad of butter and made a makeshift candle, using a string from his ragged clothes. He then took a match and lit the candle. "Father, no!" Hugo cried. "That butter is our last bit of food! How will we survive?"
"We can live for many days without food," his father said. "We can not live a single minute without faith and hope. This is the fire of hope. Never let it go out. Not here! Not anywhere!"
2. Light provides vision, but it also brings hope!
3. There are three things necessary when considering the light...
a. Proclaiming The Light
b. Rejecting The Light
c. Receiving The Light
Proposition: Jesus, the light of the world, came to give us hope.
Transition: John tells us about the one who came...
I. Proclaiming The Light (6-9).
A. To Tell About The Light
1. Imagine someone who has lived in darkness all their life. How would it affect them if someone were to hold a flashlight in their face? They probably would hold their hand to their face and ask. "What is that?" They would have to be educated as to what light is and why it is so vital.
2. That was the mission of John the Baptist. This is what John the Evangelist said, "God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony."
a. The text introduces him simply as "a man named John." The Apostle assumes that his readers are familiar with him, and in fact may have caused problems in John's congregation.
b. This may stem from a sect of the Baptist’s followers who had no knowledge of Jesus' completed work.
c. The important thing about John the Baptist was that he was "sent."
d. The use of this word refers to the authority that commissioned him; the identification by name is incidental (Tenney, The Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 9: John and Acts, 30).
e. To tell: to provide information about a person or an event concerning which the speaker has direct knowledge
(Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains, (33.262-33.273)".
f. "Witness" is distinctly a Johannine word. It is especially pertinent in this Gospel, which is an attempt to establish by adequate testimony the claims of Jesus as the Son of God.
g. The preaching of John the Baptist, which must have been known to the readers of the fourth Gospel, was preparatory to the coming of the Christ.
h. John the Baptist told the crowds listening to him that he was only the forerunner of another who would confer on them the Holy Spirit and that they must repent, or change their attitude, in anticipation of meeting him.
i. The author was careful to specify that John the Baptist was not the genuine light but that he came to attest it.
j. As the Word came to bring the heavenly light to humanity, so John came to speak from a human level and to awaken people to their need of God's revelation (Tenney, 30-31).
k. It is perhaps significant that there is no mention of his baptizing Jesus. But there is repeated reference to his witness.
l. For this Evangelist John's witness is what matters. It was for witness that John came, and nothing else that he did can be compared in importance to this (Morris, 79).
3. John further illustrates this by saying, "John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light."
a. Just as he brings out the true greatness of John, so he makes clear his limitations.