I AM... The Light of The World
John 8:12: Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Winter is coming… the clocks have turned back, Christmas decorations are in the shops, and I have even heard Christmas songs on the radio! With the nights getting dark, up to 20% of people admit to having the “winter blues” because of the changes in the amount of daylight we get. It can be easy to focus on the stress of finding the perfect gifts, the busy shopping centres, as well as juggling school work, university stresses or a job, especially this year when Christmas might not be the same as usual.
Thankfully, as Christians we have a hope and a purpose for this season, to rejoice and celebrate that God sent his Son to Earth for us, and to bring salvation through trusting in Him. In John 8v12, Jesus said “I am the light of the world”, reminding us that no matter how dark the world is, He is the true light and by following Him we can walk in His light.
In John 8, Jesus is teaching at the temple courts following the Feast of Tabernacles. In the Feast of Tabernacles light was an important symbol as the Jews remembered the pillar of fire that the Israelites followed through the desert in Exodus. Here Jesus is taking this familiar symbol to the Jews and applying it to himself - He is the light of the world, and like the Israelites who followed the light from the pillar of fire in the wilderness, we too should follow the light that is Christ, in contrast to the darkness of the world.
This year in particular, there has been a lot of darkness in the world: we have seen a global pandemic, forest fires, riots and injustice across the globe. It is times like this we can easily focus on all the bad things going on - the memories we missed out on because we were in lockdown, the holidays we didn’t get to go on, and the family members and friends we missed while we follow social distancing.
Despite all these changes, Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”, He is faithful through all the dark times we face, and we can rely on Christ. By spending time in His word, praying, listening to worship music, or seeking encouragement from our Christian friends we can focus on His light, and remind ourselves that by following Him, we do not have to walk in the darkness of the world.
The end of the verse tells us that if we follow Jesus “you will have the light that leads to life.” This is the greatest hope we can have - that this life is not the end, in fact it is only the beginning! If we trust in God and accept His sacrifice of His Son for us, we can spend eternity walking in the light with our Heavenly Father, away from the darkness of the Earth.
However, while we are on the Earth it is important that we live how God wants his children to live. Philippians 2:15 tells us to “live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people." This reminds us of the responsibility we have as Christians to live according to God’s plan for us - while the world is full of all kinds of evil, we can shine “like bright lights”, highlighting God’s goodness and mercy so that our non-Christian friends, family and peers can see God through us.
Let’s all try to shine a light in our groups this week, and as we socialise with a limited number of people, trust God that He can use us to spread the good news that following Him means having the light that leads to life.