To me, it is as clear as night and day – “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). The preacher is called to shed light on his subject. John the Baptist was “a burning and shining light” (John 5:35). There are “greater” lights and “lesser” lights (Genesis 1:16). Five minutes in someone’s presence reveals the wattage of the bulb. I am but a small candle,but my topic is to cast light on Light.
The way I see it, the only way to judge light is to ask whether it is permanent. The batteries in the best flashlights go kaput. Thechandelier bulbs in the finest hotels burn out. Policemen write citations for missing headlights and taillights every day. We refer to these as “lights”, in the plural. There is only one “light”, in the singular. It shines every morning and keeps earth from turning to ice every night. I’m speaking, of course, of the Son.
Yes, there are other luminaries, other lamps that produce light for a season, but their batteries run down, and their wicks burn down to nothing. Then a new light source is sought or invented, filament, halogen, LED, you get the picture. Only one light is self-sustaining and never fades. In the spiritual universe that light is Jesus Christ – “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
One early morning a woman, caught in the “very act of adultery”, was yanked from a tent during the Feast of Tabernacles, the feast of booths, and was thrown down by the scribes and Pharisees before Jesus in the Temple courtyard. To be caught in the act means that some religious spy had been peeping through the slit in her tent. The Pharisees weren’t concerned about the sin or the woman, but rather the fine-print of the Mosaic law. They sought to win an argument, not a soul, quizzing Jesus on whether the woman should be stoned to death. You will remember that He wrote words in the sand and the accusers left one-by-one dropping their stones as they departed, “being convicted by their own conscience”.
At last, the woman was left there alone, likely trembling. Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more”. At that moment we assume the sun crested over the tall temple wall and flooded the courtyard, and more importantly, the accused adulteress, with warm, piercing light. Jesus stood and announced – “I am the light of the world: he who follows me shall never walk in darkness but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Now, to cast some light on that one, true Light Source…
1. First, note the Light of Connection
The light of Christ was not borrowed light. The smoker asks his buddy, “Hey, can you give me a light”, because he has no matches of his own. Even I as a seasoned minister must listen to radio programs and CD-albums and such to increase my degree of light. If my lamp is not plugged in there is no light, even if I just screwed in a brand-new bulb. Earthly instruments require connection to a Source. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
Christ’s divinity is beyond debate. If God is light,“and in Him”, Jesus, is light, then the two are of the same essence.No other has self-existent light. The lamp on my desk requires an electrical plug. But Christ is light, in and of Himself. The lesser lamps on the Tabernacle Menorah were lit and given light by the center lamp’s flame. Because Christ is the Light of the world, His people “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15), through our connection with the Source.
2. Second, the Light of Inspection
Light and truth are synonyms. Light doesn’t simply expose truth, light is what it is, just as Jehovah God declared, “I AM THAT I AM”. The Creator did not say, “Let light shine”, but rather, “Light, be!” With the Father of lights there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Light is not subject to change or amendment. Light is not moody. Climate changes, even seasons change, but the problem stems from earth’s orbit, not solar mood swings. We may see some aspect of scripture or life “in a different light” but the light did not change, our reference point changed.
So, Jesus, the Light of the World, brings things out into the open. Whatever lives under the rock scatters once the rock is lifted and light invades its canopy. In the incarnation of Christ, “light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). To walk in the light and reflect the light we must come to the light. A housekeeper can get by with a lot less work by installing 40-watt bulbs in all the lamps. No one will know the difference. But screw in a 300-watt bulb and every smudge, fingerprint and particle of dust becomes glaringly visible.
3. Third, the Light of Direction
Jesus never diverged in any point from the Word because He is the Word. There is the literal word, Christ, and the literary word, your Bible, but both are one and the same. What the Bible says is what Jesus is. “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). A lamp spreads light nearby your feet. A light, or a beam, shines directionally to illuminate what lies ahead. The Light of the world shows us what is and what will be. And as a taillight, or we could say hindsight, Christ reminds of what has already been. He was and is and is to come. Light, then, declares the eternality, unchangeableness and divinity of Jesus Christ.
I think of Jesus, and His word, as a headlight, showing me where to go. Whether a headlamp on a miner’s hardhat, or a beacon on the front of a locomotive, light directs. As a streetlight Jesus guides our public affairs and work-life. As spotlight He illuminates specific issues that need to be dealt with. As searchlight He sends the Holy Spirit into the darkest corners of earth, seeking the lost sheep. As porchlight Christ shows the way home to the Father. One American motel chain advertises, “We’ll leave the light on for you”.
4. Fourth, the Light of Perfection
“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). Fog produce partial visibility. At the first healing touch, the blind man “saw men as trees walking”. But there is no impairment or frustration in Light. Jesus saw all men clearly, and by His light all human blindness is remedied. Satan was unable to obscure Christ’s brilliance in any way. Darkness fled at His entrance. Light shown through His clothing on the Mount, because it was not manufactured, it was inner, and it was intense. Concentrated light, laser light, can cut through any and every obstacle.
Denominationally, this group or that thinks they have the true light – “And you are confident that you are a guide to the blind, a light to them who are in darkness” (Romans 2:19). But we make a huge mistake in thinking we have arrived. Solomon wisely said – “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). We are coming to the light, but the brilliance within the Holy of Holies is too blinding for anyone to rush into. Saul of Tarsus learned that on the Road to Damascus. Eyes must adjust to the light. Meet Jesus, Know Jesus. Fellowship with Jesus. Love and trust Jesus. He is not an alternate, or one of many ways. He is “the true Light, who enlightens every man that comes into the world” (John 1:9). Now, plug in to the Source.