B. JESUS: THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (John 1:4-13)
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to his own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (verses 4-13)
Light and darkness are mentioned repeatedly by the apostle. God is light. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
While Satan is “the power of darkness.” When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53)
People will love one or the other, and it is the love of either that will control their actions.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:16-21)
The Bible tells us that those who truly believe on Christ are the “sons of light.”
Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. (John 12:35-36)
Just as creation began with “Let there be light” in Genesis 1, so the New Creation begins with the entrance of God’s light into the heart of the believer.
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to five the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6)
The coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, into our world was the dawning of a new day for sinful man.
Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79)
One would think that the revelation of truth to sinful man would cause him to accept the Light, but that’s not necessarily true. When true Light came, conflict arose because the powers of darkness opposed it. See how John 1:5 is worded below in the Amplified Bible:
And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it–put it out, or has not absorbed it, has not appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it.
It was opposition to the revelation of Light through Jesus that eventually led to His crucifixion. And, it is no different today. Darkness has tried to snuff the truth out since the beginning of human history because of the fallen Lucifer’s hatred of the true Light which shines through all true followers of Jesus Christ. The enemy of our souls resists the revelation of spiritual truths so that he can keep us in spiritual darkness. Spiritual darkness leads to death and hell, whereas the Light leads to life and Heaven. It is this fact that explains the ministry of John the Baptist.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. (John 1:6-8)
John was sent (the Baptist) to blaze a trail to a blind Jewish population that the Light had come into the world. In spite of its advantages as descendants of Abraham, the Jews were totally blinded to their own Messiah. The Baptist was a faithful forerunner of the Messiah, but as the Messiah Himself did, was killed while delivering the message of the Light that had come into the world.
Why did the nation reject Jesus? Why does anyone reject Him for that matter? Because they didn’t recognize or accept Him for Who He really was. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. (John 1:10). They were spiritually ignorant. Although, He is the “true Light”—the original that every other supposed light is a copy—the Jews, as well as so many today, are content with copies. The Jews had Moses and the law; they had the Temple and the sacrifices, but they didn’t comprehend that all these “lights” pointed to the one and only true Light, who was a fulfillment of the other.
Today, much of the modern world rebels against Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). How can anyone dare make such a claim? Yet, as He lived before them, He demonstrated why and how He could say what He did. He showed that it was not enough to be born a Jew, they had to be born again, born from above. He deliberately performed miracles on the Sabbath to show He was LORD of the Sabbath. How was He LORD of the Sabbath? He was GOD who had stepped into the flesh of a man. He was the satisfying manna and the life-giving water as well as the Shepherd of a new flock.
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37-39)
As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:15-16)
The problem was, the people were so shackled by religious tradition that they could not understand spiritual truth. He came unto His own world that He Himself had created, but His own people, Israel, did not receive Him. But, as we read in the 16th verse of the above Scripture, Jesus spoke of another flock. Who was this other flock that Jesus was referring to? You and I…the Gentiles. And, millions upon multiplied millions of Gentiles have believed in Messiah Jesus ever since the Day of Pentecost, 2,000 years ago!
During Jesus’ short 33 years or so on this planet, humanity that witnessed His perfect life, heard first hand His explanations of truths they had never understood. They had opportunity to hear, accept, believe, and find a true relationship with God. He gave them the opportunity to walk with Him, as the origin of all Truth, but they would not believe Him. He is the life, and they had Him crucified.
But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him (John 12:37)
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve. (John 6:66-71)
We don’t have to make the same mistakes today that so many did in that day, and continue to do in our day and time. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John put it in these words in John 1:12-13:
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
This wonderful promise says that anyone who receives Jesus Christ will be born again and become part of the family of God. This is the spiritual birth Jesus described to Nicodemus, the spiritual birth that the Apostle John wrote so much about in his books that are part of the Bible today. The Apostle Paul also wrote about those who have chosen to receive Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. He described them as a totally new creation.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
So, not only was Jesus the Light of the world, but through Him He made it possible for us to become lights in this world as well. And, as we read in the Scripture above, we were reconciled to God through Christ and then become ministers of reconciliation ourselves for the world around us. Jesus referred to us being lights on a hill in this world. That is what the Great Commission is all about that Jesus commissioned the Church with.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. (Mark 16:15-20)
Continued in Part 3