This post is part of a series in which I explore the concept of vulnerability and its place in God’s design. Last time, I began to explore the link between darkness, light and vulnerability. I finished the post with a question:
What is this “light”? Can it be defined or described in concrete terms?
In response to that post, Jessica commented about Jesus being the Light of the World. That’s just how I would have answered my own question.
Perhaps part of this “light” is abstract; an analogy that uses a familiar, real-life phenomenon to help us understand a spiritual concept. That may be a valid part of it.
But I think there’s more. The Bible makes this “light” concrete and personal. It gives it a name:
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
These verses call the light “he”, not “it”. Zooming out and looking at the passage as a whole, we learn that this light (also referred to as “the Word”) is “the Son” – Jesus. It’s hard to isolate just one verse that makes the connection on its own. I recommend you read all of John 1:1-14.
Chapters later, the book of John records the words of Jesus himself:
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
And this idea – that Jesus, God the Son, is light and that his Kingdom is a kingdom of light; it’s not unique to the gospels:
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
-1 John 1:5
and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
This light is personal.
This light is Jesus.
Part of this is fantastic news for us: Jesus illuminates the way. No more stumbling in the dark.
Part of this – though still fantastic with an eternal perspective – is hard news for us. Jesus exposes our hearts.
Remember the John passage from last time?
And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.”
-John 3:19-21 (emphasis added by me)
“Everyone who does wicked things,” – that’s all of us. Naturally, we hate the light and have no desire to come to it. I truly believe that for a person to go to Jesus takes a supernatural work of God the Father drawing that person to him (see John 6:44).
The light is uncomfortable.
Perhaps that’s why the crowds that flocked after Jesus at the beginning of John 6 deserted him before the chapter’s end. Jesus exposed their hearts, true motives and all.
Having the heart exposed by Jesus, the Light of the world, is an uncomfortable thing. Thankfully, that’s not where God’s design ends. If we will come to Jesus on his terms, he is pleased to go on and redeem the broken and the ugly parts of our hearts.
Talk with me?
- Have you ever considered the “hard” side of the Light of the world?
- Have you ever felt exposed coming before Jesus?
- Why should we live in the light?
Resources for deeper digging: