Summary: John uses powerful images in his writing. What did he mean when he called Jesus the light of life?

October 7, 2007

John 8:12

The Light of Life

Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jn 1:2 He was with God in the beginning. Jn 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. Jn 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. Jn 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. Jn 1:6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. Jn 1:7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. Jn 1:8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. Jn 1:9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. Jn 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. Jn 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Jn 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— Jn 1:13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. Jn 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We see things every day; from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the second we close them to sleep at night we are seeing things. Every day you wake up, you open your eyes and you see. You see using light. Light enables you to see the shoe that was left haphazardly on the floor before you trip on it. Light keeps you from banging your toes on the corners of furniture in the dark. Light allows you to see. Not just to see but to see in color. Colors do not really exist, they are simply a reflection of a certain wave of light to your eyes. All you ever really see…is light. Some things reflect it, some absorb parts of it, some scatter it, and some allow it to pass right through, but all you see is light.

Light is one of the most fascinating and taken for granted aspects of life. But there is more to light than you think. Light is not simply a bulb that you put up so that you can see in the dark. Light is one of the more complicated and confusing things to explain. While we can mold it, control it, manipulate it, and even create it but we cannot completely understand it. Basically light is energy. It moves as both a wave and a particle. Light is the only thing that does this. Light can also move through anything. It does not require a medium to move like other waves of energy do. Light can move through a vacuum. In other words the voids of space cannot keep light from us.

Light is essential to see. Without light, you see nothing, but also without light…there is nothing to see. Without light there would be no food to eat and no air to breath. In other words…without light there would be no life. In a very broad sense life could not exist on earth without the readily available presence of light. I imagine that at least some of you are familiar with the process of photosynthesis where a plant uses chlorophyll to absorb light from the sun and in turn creates sugars which are broken down into glucose which provides nutrients or energy for the plant. What you may not know is what goes into this process. Plants contain a compound called adenosine diphosphate or ADP. ADP is essentially useless…it does nothing. When light is absorbed it initiates a series of chemical reactions that change ADP into ATP adenosine triphosphate, which is really cool. The plant is basically dead…it has no life…it can do nothing. But when light is absorbed by the plant…the plant comes to life. What is produced: ATP is food for the plant…we would call it a nutrient. This nutrient feeds not just the plant, but any animal that eats the plant. Do you see the effect of light? Light brings that which was dead to life…when light is absorbed…the organism that absorbed it has life.

You see it is not food that enables your body to function and have life, it is the nutrients that are found in that food. All of those nutrients work their way back to plants as a result of their absorption of light.

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