The World’s Light
The life that shines in the darkness.
John 1:4-5, 9
Day & Night; Light vs. Dark. These themes are found in all forms of media throughout history. We use these themes and symbols to speak of reality the world over, describing opposites many people seem to believe exist co-eternally: Good & Evil. The Bible presents to us a different narrative on the subject.
Word study: When you read Genesis 1, focus on the word good. You’ll notice that it appears seven times in the account! The next time this word appears, it’s linked with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now the fruit of this tree is unimportant, that’s why it isn’t mentioned. What is important are the choices this tree represents. Humanity is faced with trusting God to determine what’s good or not (he’s just shown seven times that he knows what he’s doing) or seizing the opportunity to determine good and evil on their own.
Jesus offers life that doesn’t crush others to get ahead
What we can see here is that God is more than capable of making judgments about good and evil, then offers this wisdom as a gift to his image-bearers. But the two take the latter option, deciding for themselves how life should look; from that moment, life as we know it has been filled with one suffering after the next. Whatever God has intended for his Creation has since been marred by our incorrect perceptions, as light was rejected for darkness.
Life as Light
So as the story of the Bible moves along, it displays the continual fallout of human choices in determining good and evil alongside God’s commitment to sustain and rescue this world. Enter Jesus.
Christ Jesus enters the stage of human history and one of the ways he’s introduced and refers to himself is light. The author of the Gospel of John focuses on Jesus’ life as the light of men—meaning he’s the example on how to be truly human. If Adam and Eve perpetuated a host living in darkness, Jesus is for the opposite: people truly living in the way that loves God and neighbor.
This life-light is of such a nature, that even though darkness has engulfed humanity, the darkness has truly never (or will) overcome light. God himself, Light, came to destroy darkness, living a life fully pleasing to God—revealing that God’s way of life is truly beautiful. Jesus even said that while he’s in the world, he’s light for the world (Jn 9:5). He shows that there is a peculiar kind of way to live that doesn’t crush others to get ahead; a kind of life that gives life; the way it ought to be.
Light for Sight
The records of Jesus are mainly about receiving, trusting this light above the surrounding darkness that has only produced death throughout the world. By accepting his life as right, we enter into this life ourselves and Jesus remains in us to be that same light in the world today until he overwhelms the whole earth in his return (Gal 2:20).
What this means is accepting that how we choose to live is flawed, that what we see in him is right and good and that our world begins to heal as we show we believe him by emulating him, choosing to value others as equals. If we’ll humble ourselves and look over our life choices, we’ll recognize the mistakes and damage we made and caused. I trust God to grant repentance and forgiveness, where we can see the beauty of Jesus’ life (our Light) and begin to see for the first time God at work in this world.
This is why Jesus came, received a brutal death and rose from the grave to life, never to die again: to give us access to his life (1Pt 3:18).