I was afraid of the dark as a kid. But when the light came on and I could see again, I wasn’t afraid any more. That is what Jesus did for this world. Where it was once consumed by darkness, Jesus flooded it with light. With Jesus as the light in our lives, we can see and not be afraid.
Light Has A Source
In John 8:12 (ESV), Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” This truth can challenge us or cause confusion because it implies that without Jesus, we are in the dark. But we are in darkness without Jesus, in a world where people constantly stumble over their own misunderstanding. Unless we accept the light of life, who is Jesus, we will continue to wander in the darkness, clutching to whatever we can, trying to navigate for ourselves.
I remember what it was like to walk in darkness. Before I was a Christian, a friend took me to church. At the end of the sermon, I wanted to punch the pastor. He called me out on my sins, and I didn’t like being told I was living a life of rebellion. I saw drunkenness and womanizing as normal. I didn’t think I was in need of saving or change. But I was being drawn to God just as Jesus promised: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). Unknown to me at the time, Jesus was leading me to a place of surrender.
After many more churchless Sundays, God finally got my attention on Friday, March 12, 2004, when I met Jesus face to face in a vision. I was bathed in a light that only Jesus could bestow, exposing how dark and fruitless my life had been. I learned that Jesus was lifted up on that cross for me, dying, being buried, rising again, and ascending to heaven. Then he commissioned me with the task of doing his work here on earth, of bringing others into relationship with him.
Light Is A Guide
Accepting Jesus into our hearts is not the end of our journey; it is the beginning of the path to becoming more like Christ. When we look at our hearts, thoughts, and surroundings, Jesus reveals just how dark the world’s ways really are. When we turn to Jesus, he gives us his light and shows us his way. Having Jesus’ “light of life” means having his love and guidance. Sometimes his way looks confusing or strange, but it is always the best way to travel. God’s plans for us are good, “plans to prosper and not to harm, plans for a hope and for a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
People with unbelieving hearts only seek after what prospers them. Apart from Jesus, we set in motion lives filled with harm, with no hope and no future. A person can only have hope and a future when life is lived out for Christ. We get light through reading the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with other Christians. This light of life can be obtained through an open line of communication with the one who gives it—Jesus. Apart from him, life can appear meaningless. Our purpose in life is to glorify God with who we are and what we have.
We get light through reading the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with other Christians.
Light Is A Gift
The choice to either accept or reject the gift offered by Jesus is ours. No one can make the decision for us, not even God. He draws us to him, but he doesn’t force us to choose him. Jesus says:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:17-21 ESV).
Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6), and knowing Jesus is eternal life (John 17:3). Jesus himself embodied the truth of who God is. He showed us the life that God desires for us all, completely relying on and surrendered to God our Father. The Bible teaches that no person seeks after God in their own power, not one (Romans 3:23). It is only by God drawing us to himself (John 12:32) that we will see that Jesus truly is who he says he is, the Savior of the world.
Even while people were rebelling and rejecting God, Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8). This shows us that God loves humanity so much that he gave his only son so that when we believe in Jesus, we won’t die but will have everlasting life (John 3:16). It is with our heart that we believe in Jesus, and with our mouth that we confess that he is truly God (Romans 10:9).
Salvation is a gift we get through relationship with Jesus, a gift that God wants to bestow on all people. Two thousand years ago, when asked by people what they should do to please God, Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29, ESV). Jesus gives us the same answer today: believe in me, know me, love me as I love you. There is no additional work to be done—no specific prayer to pray, no amount of money to give, no number of people to feed—to gain God’s gift of grace.
We experience God’s grace by having a genuine relationship with his son, Jesus, and our acts are the direct result of an authentic faith. The apostle John wrote:
If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:17-18).
If our hearts have been surrendered to Jesus, with God’s love abiding in us, we will begin diligently seeking opportunities to speak of his faithfulness and show it in generosity as well.
Light Has A Purpose
For those who accept him, Jesus says:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
People who surrender their lives to Christ carry the message of the gospel in their words and actions.
The gospel changes our very way of living. Our everyday conversations spark interest in other people, building their interest in the gospel. Our love for Christ should not be hidden to a watching world.
As a lamp makes plain the layout of a room, so a heart surrendered to Jesus gives the light of life to others we come in contact with. The glory is no longer for us, as it once was; now the glory is for God because he shows himself through our Christ-lit actions.
As a city on a hill is seen from afar, so is a life that is lived for Jesus. Our deeds are done not for ourselves, but for the glory of our Father who is in heaven.
A light doesn’t decide to start shining, giving light to all who are in the room; someone has to start the process. Jesus started the process in my life by shedding light on the temptations that consumed me. Jesus gives us a stern command:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17, ESV).
We must love light more than darkness.
Things in this world seek to draw our attention away from Jesus, the one who died so we would all come to be reconciled with God. If we make the willing choice to reject the light that Jesus promises to bring into our lives, we choose to remain in the darkness with our desires rooted in pride and our choices based on fear. With faith and the help of a loving God, our actions and choices will spread the light and message of the gospel, rather than conceal it. Those who do not have his light may search for it, and those who do have it should not hide it, so those who search can see.
Those who do not have Jesus’ light may search for it, and those who do have it should not hide it, so those who search can see.
In John 9, a man who is blind from birth is healed of his blindness and is interrogated by the Pharisees, a group of Jewish elders. They ask how Jesus could have healed him since they suspect Jesus is a sinner and not from God. The man who was born blind responds, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25, ESV)
At Christmas, light is a special reminder. People put up tiny lights on their eaves and pine trees to illuminate the darkness and celebrate the birth of humankind’s savior, Jesus, who offers light to everyone (John 1:9). “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Jesus, our sign from God, the baby born in a manger (Luke 2:12), born to speak of God, live for God and die for God, to reclaim what he had lost, relationship with his precious people. Christ’s birth painfully reminds us of what God had to do to draw us back into a reconciled, perfect relationship with himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, and, at the same time, reminds us of the light and hope Christ offers to the world.