“Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.’” - John 8:12
The story is told of an atheist professor who tried to convince his students that the existence of evil proves that God Himself is evil. A quick-thinking student asked, “Professor, does darkness exist?” The professor responded, “Of course it exists.” But the student disagreed: “Darkness does not exist. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn’t that correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present.”
The student continued: “Evil does not exist either, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love that exists just as light does. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love in his heart. It’s like the darkness that comes when there is no light.”
Great food for thought! Just as it would be ridiculous for us to turn off the lights in our home and then proceed to blame them for the darkness, it is silly to blame God for the prevalence of evil after having removed Him from our schools, our homes and our government. The Old Testament records the history of the Israelites who repeatedly removed God’s light from their nation. And the results were disastrous. But in fulfillment of His promise, God sent into the world the brightest light imaginable—His Son, Jesus Christ.
At the start of his gospel account, the Apostle John introduces Jesus Christ in an amazing way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” On that very first Christmas Day, Jesus Christ left the physical darkness of his mother’s womb and entered the spiritual darkness of this fallen world. He came as the embodiment of God’s Word and as the light of this dark world.
Thirty years later, Jesus stood in the temple courts during the Feast of Tabernacles and proclaimed, “I am the light of the world.” This revelation was particularly powerful considering the fact that the Feast of Tabernacles commemorated God’s guidance of
ancestors during their forty-year journey from slavery in to
freedom in the Promised Land of Canaan. Before the eight-day annual feast
began, the Jewish leaders erected four huge golden candelabras in the temple
courts. These candelabras were seventy-five feet high, and when lit, would light
up the night sky over Egypt .
Standing just a few feet from these city-illuminating lamps, Jesus declared,
“I am the light of the world.” Wow! It’s one thing to light up a city; it’s
quite another to light up the world! Jerusalem
Jesus came into this dark, sin-cursed world and pierced the moral and spiritual darkness. Every single human being who has ever walked this earth commits sins. Before Jesus came onto the scene, everyone on earth was living under the curse of that darkness. But Jesus’ light broke through the darkness. Jesus’ light broke through the hopelessness, the hate and the condemnation. His light broke through the racism, the fear, the pride, the lust and the idolatry. Jesus’ light broke through because Jesus is the light of the world.
And while preaching the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus turned to his followers and declared, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Yes, Jesus is the Light of the World, but every Jesus follower is also the light of the world because the Spirit of Jesus Christ dwells within us. He shines in us, and we are commanded to let his light shine through us. Sadly, most of us who claim to be Christians have a bad habit of shining our lights brightly in private and dimly in public. That’s one of the main reasons why Christians have had such limited impact in our culture in recent years. Let’s face it: Secret agent Christians don’t lead people to Christ’s salvation. Christians who disguise their faith don’t transform their families’ or neighbors’ morals. Jesus followers who only shine their lights within the four walls of the church building don’t penetrate the cultural darkness with the light of Christ.
We as Christians MUST shine the light of Christ outside the church building, and this light shining should be very practical. It involves sharing the Gospel with our mouths, but it also requires us to share the Gospel with our hands and feet. Christians who are serious about shining Christ’s light are serious about meeting people’s practical physical needs in addition to their deeper spiritual needs. Starving people need a full tummy before they’re ready to hear the Gospel. Injured people need a Band Aid before they’re ready to hear the message. People who feel they’ve been mistreated and betrayed by Christians need to experience your love before they can begin to understand Christ’s love.
Jesus is the Light of the World, and he has called you and me to shine his light in our dark world. We must allow Christ’s light to shine in us and through us. Darkness can only exist wherever Christ’s light is not allowed to shine. So, let your lights shine, Christians. Let them shine!
Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit www.fccvv.com and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.