Summary: What relevance is Jesus as the "Light of the world" to us

Thornage 14-12-03

I am the Light of the World (Jn 8:12)

There is a famous oil painting that was painted between 1851 and 1853.

Question: Can you guess what it is called?

Here are some clues

1. There are three original copies

2. One copy is in Manchester City Art Gallery

3. A second copy is in Keble College Oxford

4. The third is in St. Paul’s Cathedral

5. The artist was Holman Hunt

The picture of course is known as the Light of the World.

I wonder if you knew that Hunt had the following Bible verse printed on the frame: ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me’.

And that is our theme this morning.

Have you ever wondered how Jesus can give us light today:


One of the most important aspects of Jesus being our light is his teaching.

He taught us how God wants us to live our lives.

Can you think of any expressions of Jesus that have entered the English language:

1. “Take the beam out of your own eye”

2. “Turn the other cheek”

3. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”

4. “Go the extra mile”

5. “Be a Good Samaritan”

6. “The Prodigal Son”

7. “Do to others as you would have them do to you”

8. No man can serve two masters

9. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

10. Don’t cast your pearls before swine”

11. Judge not and you shall not be judged”

12. “Don’t hide your light under a bushel”.

13. I could “walk on water”

However, the most important teaching Jesus gave us was how we should live towards God and those around us:

Question: Can you remember what the two greatest commandments were? We do after all hear them at every communion service

Answer: Jesus said:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mt 22:37-39)

If we wish to live fulfilled lives on this earth, we need to live at peace with God and at peace with our neighbour


As we get our vertical relationship with God right, we will get our horizontal relationships with other people right.

In fact that is the very reason he died on the Cross – to enable us to get right with God and so live rightly with our fellow human beings

Jesus’ teaching is a beacon or a light in this world of darkness.


Story: In the 19th Century (before radar was invented) ships avoided each other by looking out for beacons or lights on other ships. And they communicated with each other by signalling with flags in a sort of mores code.

One day a battleship was out on manoeuvres and the captain of the battleship saw a beacon on the horizon.

He realised that his ship was on a collision course with it. So he called his signaller and told him. "Flash the following signal over there”We are on a collision course, advice you change course 20 degrees."

The reply came back "Advise you to change course 20 degrees."

The captain signaled back, "Who do you think you are - telling a Captain in the Royal Navy what to do."

The response came back "I’m a seaman second class; you still better change your course 20 degrees.”

By this time the captain was furious. He signalled back "I’m a battleship. I won’t change my course but I am ordering you to change course 20 degrees."

The reply came back: "I’m a lighthouse. Be my guest."

Jesus is a lighthouse in this world of darkness. He showed us where it is safe to go and where it is dangerous to go. We ignore him at our peril.


Have you ever wondered how Jesus can be such a light in the world?

Mohammed the founder of Islam left a number of books, of which the Koran is the most famous as well as a powerful army to enforce his religion.

Buddha left his writing and the Nepalese gentry who enforced his teachings.

Jesus never wrote a book, he never held a public office, he didn’t travel more than 200 miles from his home town in all his life. He never had an army at his command.

Yet he has had the greatest influence that any person has had on this planet.

People have been attracted to the man Jesus throughout the centuries


1. He didn’t care what people thought. He cared only what God thought.

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