I am the Light of the World
Open Your Bible
John 8:12, 9:1-7, John 1:1-18, Genesis 1:1-5
BY Caleb Faires
This is part of a 10-day series on the person of Christ in the 2016 Lent study.
I have a dear friend who, some years ago, walked away from the faith. Looking back on the months leading up to his departure, I think I knew it was coming. I recall the increasing rift in our conversations. Today, he is quite open about his opposition to Christ. He is glad to be “free” of Him. I think, more than my friend knows, I understand the temptation to faithlessness, because I am, like every other man I’ve ever met, fallen.
If we’re totally honest, that old man, that body of sin and death, still clings to us. We, too, struggle against the appeal of the flesh that tells us we’d be better off if we were “free” of Christ. It doesn’t take much to drift. A little spiritual neglect, a little distraction from prayer, a little break from reading the Word, and we can quickly find ourselves wandering. But, unlike my lost friend, I do not enjoy this “freedom.” Its appeal is thin and short-lived. When my eyes drift from Christ, they see only darkness.
Apart from Christ, there is no light. Jesus declared: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
This is a remarkable promise. Indeed, Christ’s light is not merely metaphorical. It is tremendously potent and tangible. Christ, the Light of the world, gives life (John 1:4; 8:12), opens the eyes of the blind (John 9:7), makes and gives physical light to the world (Genesis 1:3, John 1:2-3), manifests God’s own glory, bestowing grace and truth (John 1:14), secures our adoption as children of God (John 1:12), and guarantees His victory in the world (John 1:5).
I recently revisited Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and that famous scene where Kurtz lies on his deathbed. Kurtz’s spiritual blindness is an unsettling reminder of our desperate need of Christ’s light:
“His was an impenetrable darkness. I looked at him as you peer down at a man who is lying at the bottom of a precipice where the sun never shines… He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath: ‘The horror! The horror!’”
Conrad had no answer for the darkness of the human heart. When faced with the horror of it, he could not formulate a solution. His only escape was to look away from it, to lie, and pretend it wasn’t there. Though the Light of Life has come, the world does not know Him, and it cannot comprehend the Light (John 1:5,10).
But we have seen His glory and from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace! Thanks be to God!
Whether the darkness of sin and death masquerades as freedom, or shows itself in all its horror, still Christ’s light is not undone by human unbelief. It is not undone by our own struggles against our sin nature. No, Christ’s light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
Written by Caleb Faires