Summary: The Light of the World The Power of the Light to Create Life
The Light of the World
The Power of the Light to Create Life
December 15, 2013
Christmas is now ten days away and we are drawing our attention to the significance of the incarnation, the light shining into the darkness but the darkness cannot overcome it. It was and is the greatest rescue mission the world has ever known. We are in the third week of our series, “The Light of the World” looking at the first eighteen verses of the first chapter of the gospel of John. To review, the first week we saw that Jesus is the light that triumphs over evil, sin, and unbelief. Then last week, we saw that God loves to use human witnesses to the light. This week we see the “The Power of the Light to Create Life.”
Big Idea – Jesus, The eternal word, the light and life, has the power to make dead men and women alive.
The Light Creates a Division Among Humanity (vs. 9-10)
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” His coming as the light presupposes darkness in the world. This darkness as we have seen is evil, sin, and unbelief. Our sinfulness is so pervasive that we cannot save ourselves. Christianity is not a moral improvement program, to make bad people good, but is a new birth where God makes spiritually dead people alive. This creates a predicament for each of us. The darkness is repelled by the light and so naturally runs from the light. An exposition of these two verses is John 3:16-21, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
We are all naturally repelled, whether actively or passively, by the light. Notice the contrast in these verses. People loved darkness rather than light because theirs works (thoughts, desires, and actions) are evil. Every single one of us either are or were in that group. This group hates the light and so does not come to the light lest their works be exposed for what they are. The light exposes the sinfulness of our hearts. But in contrast, whoever does what is true, responds positively, comes to the light. What is the difference? Why are some drawn to the light and others repelled? The answer is given in that last clause of verse 10, “so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out through God. If and when we respond positively to the light it is because all that has been performed has been done by God's power and grace. On the surface we make choices but under the surface, God is at work. Christianity is not a moral improvement program, to make bad people good, but is a new birth where God makes spiritually dead people alive. All of us are in one of two groups – those who reject the light or those who embrace the light. This leads us to our second point.
This Division Creates Two Responses to the Light (vs. 11-13)
“He came to his own and his own did not receive him.” This has a general and specific application. He came to the world he created, the world of humanity, and in general they rejected him. He also came specifically to his own people, the Jews, whom he chose and made into a great nation and they also rejected him. Humanity loves the way they are and are happy and content and free to do so. This is true even to this day. They reject him with trinkets and decorations up that ignore him. They shop and give holiday greetings, and holiday cards that ignore him. They reject him by wishing others a happy holiday season.
“But to those who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Receive and believe are almost synonymous words in John's gospel. Receiving and believing means to embrace Jesus for who he is and not what we want him to be. It means to see him as a Savior and welcome his salvation; to see him as a Leader and welcome his leadership; to see him as a Provider and welcome his provision; to see him as a Counselor and seek his counsel; to see him as a Protector and accept his protection; to see him as an authoritative King and submit to his rule.