Friday, April 5, 2013

“I am the light of the world”

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“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 

As long as I am in the world,  I am the light of the world.”
–––– John 9:5

Light - the dictionary defines light as:  the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible; electromagnetic radiation from about 3900 to 740 nm in wavelength, it has the behavior of both waves and particles.     

Light!   Light and darkness are natural metaphors found in all languages and cultures.  Light is a universal metaphor for goodness and truth.  The opposite of light is darkness. In the beginning there was darkness.  And God said,  "Let there be light,"  and God saw that light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.  God does not create darkness.  Darkness is the absence of light.  What color is an orange?  The answer is orange.  But, what color is the orange in the dark.  The answer is black.  Color is only found in the light.  Color is the reflection of light. There is no"color" black. Black is the result of no reflection of light. Without light there is no color, there is only darkness.  Light fills the darkness.  

Scientist still debate if light is a particle or a energy wave.  Both can be proven true. Does a room filled with light weigh more than the same room in darkness?   Darkness has no substance, but without light there is only darkness.  Happy are the people who know the joyful shout;  Yahweh, they walk in the light of Your presence.  Psalm 89:15     Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,  who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.  Isaiah 5:20  God had led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness with a pillar of fire so they could walk at night. Exodus 13:21   Light is truth, awareness, God’s redemptive work, and heaven.  Darkness, on the other hand, symbolizes error, evil, lostness, and the works of Satan. Even though Satan can masquerade as an angel of light  2 Corinthians 11:14, this mock light is not the true light of heaven. 

Light is the ministry of Christ, the truth of Christ, and the change in those who are converted by Christ. Fallen, unsaved man, is walking in darkness. This is the normal, natural state of man without Christ. People hide in darkness. They do not want what is done in darkness to be seen by others.  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shown.  Isaiah 9:2 

This is the second "I AM" statement of Jesus “I am the light of the world” John 8:12  John 9:5 

John previously used the metaphor of light for Jesus in the prologue of his Gospel.  In the beginning was the Word,  and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. Life was in Him, and that life was the light  of men. That light shines  in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.    John 1:1-5

This metaphor of Jesus has allusions to many Old Testament scripture. The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1  In this "I Am" statement Jesus was announcing to the crowd that He was the Messiah.  The Old Testament prophesied that the Messiah would be a light for His people and for the entire world.   
The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon
give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it
.  Isaiah 60:19-22 
There was no mistaking that Jesus was announcing Himself as the Messiah.  The Pharisees knew this, and so did many in the crowd.  Jesus made this "I AM" statement during the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles (also called Feast of Booths), commemorates the period of the wilderness wanderings directly following the emancipation from Egypt. It lasted seven days, beginning on the 15th of Tishri. One of the celebrations included lighting lamps. The light symbolized the pillar of fire in the wilderness and the glory that had once filled the temple.

John 8:20 tells us that Jesus was standing near the temple treasury when He made this statement. The temple treasury was located in the Court of Women; according to some historians, it consisted of thirteen large, trumpet- shaped, bronze receptacles.  The sound of the coins being tossed into the trumpets would clatter against the bronze.  The greater the offering the louder the noise.  After the evening sacrifice and before sunset, priests entered the Court of Women to light two (some historians say four) giant chandelier- like lamp stands. It is said that the lights of the celebration could be seen throughout the city. After the lighting of the lamps, a nightly celebration took place under this light. The people would dance through the night while holding burning torches in their hands and singing songs and praises. It was likely at this time when Jesus took the opportunity portray another spiritual analogy for the people: "I am the light of the world."

Jesus declared, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness." This is an exclusive statement. Jesus did not say I'm "A" light.  Jesus said "The" light.  Jesus is the one and only light of the world. Later, He would invite a crowd of listeners to become children of the light through belief  in Him. John 12:36  Jesus also foretold the future of His disciples by saying, "You are the light of the world" Matthew 5:14  Christians can and should, reflect the Light of Jesus.  We should live in the Light and truth of Jesus. But, like Moses we can only reflect His light.  As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the LORD. When Aaron, then, and the other Israelites saw Moses and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become, they were afraid to come near him.  Exodus 34:29-30  Jesus is the Light of the World.  The light of Jesus will show us our sin. Without the light of Jesus we will never see ourselves as the sinful beings we truly are. He offers clarity and meaning in a dark world. He offers life, grace, and spiritual awakening to those who know that they are lost in darkness. Hid light is freely given to those who make Him their Lord.

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