I have recently thought much of the influence and importance of light to sustain life. This year I did something I’ve never done before; I planted a garden in my backyard. The greater part of my two acre lot is covered with trees, mostly pine trees. But, I found a small open patch that is exposed to the sun for about six hours. We are now harvesting the fruit of our labor. We have squash, pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes, beans, etc. But some of the vegetables close to the ground are covered by a canopy of leaves. With little sunlight they are rotting on the vine. They are starving for light and without light there is no life in the garden.
Light is crucial to life. John wrote about Jesus when he said, “In him is life and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4) Light chases confusion away. The previous verse says, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (v.3) Jesus Christ is the creator. The book of Genesis teaches us that the world was without form and void and a deep darkness covered the earth. God chased away the darkness when he said, “Let there be light.” The light brought order and beauty out of confusion and chaos. When Jesus declares that he is the “light of the world” he is presenting himself as the source of order and beauty in a world floundering about in dark confusion.
Light brings security. My five year old son sleeps in his own bedroom. He has a night light beside his bed but he is not satisfied with that small amount of light. He wants the hall light on. He wants lots of light to chase away the darkness in his room. He is troubled without the light and refuses to sleep if it isn’t on. Christ, as light of the world, provides us with the security we long for. The light gives us confidence, it dispels fear. It illuminates so that we can see what is and is not there.
We were having a plumbing problem some months ago in one of our bathrooms. I reached behind the toilet to shut off the water valve and the valve came off in my hand. Water was spewing everywhere and I had no way to turn in off. I ran out into the dark night to find the main that provides water to my home. I lifted the lid and started to put my hand down into the dark hole but had second thoughts. I dashed for a flash light and returned to the valve. When I flooded the valve with the light of the flashlight I saw a huge spider web supporting a fat black widow. The light revealed a danger I couldn’t see without it. Jesus Christ is the light that exposes those things that can endanger our spiritual lives. Jesus is the light that “shines in darkness.” (John 1:5)
Many evenings I look westward and watch the sun set beyond the Chattahoochee River over the plains of central Alabama. The darkness slowly overtakes my wooded neighborhood as night settles in. Unlike the physical light of the world, spiritual light cannot be overcome by spiritual darkness. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.” It would be like organizing the world’s population to shoot squirt guns at the sun. The attempts of simple-minded men to extinguish the truth of Christ are just as absurd. Many are frustrated in their efforts and as a last resort simply declare that God no longer exists. Their chest-pounding declaration does nothing to change the fact that the Light shines eternally.
This Light was sent into the world to reveal Truth. We know God by knowing Jesus Christ. Our great separation from God makes his glorious beauty and power incomprehensible. To see his glory would bring instant death to vile creatures such as us. So, God sent his Son to reveal himself to us. “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:7)
Christ taught his disciples that he was the light of the world as long as he was with them in the world. “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you.” (John 12:35) So how is the darkness dispelled after the Light is no longer with us? Christ taught his disciple that they “were the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14) When physical darkness envelops the earth God provides the moon which reflects the light of the sun. We are to be spiritual bodies which reflect the light of His Son.
The world offers only darkness in the culture it provides. Men’s hearts seek satisfaction through entertainments provided by new technology and old pastimes. But satisfaction cannot be found outside of the true light of Jesus Christ. Many in our lives will never see the light if they do not see it reflected in our lives. Is the light of Christ being reflected through you to your friends and family? Many live in a dungeon of darkness where one single ray of light will make all the difference. When the source of that reflected ray of light is Jesus Christ wonderful things can happen, chains can fall off, light can flood the darkest parts of the heart and souls can be set free!