Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” — John 8: 12
The Lord gives light to our lives.
Among Jesus’ contemporaries there were some very different interpretations about who He was. Many of them had heard His sermons and even witnessed the signs and miracles He performed. Some thus took Him to be a miracle worker, a wise teacher, or even a prophet. Others rejected Him as a heretic or even a dangerous deceiver. Only a small few recognized Him as the Son of God, the Saviour and Redeemer (John 6: 66– 69; 7: 40 et seq.). Opinions thus differed concerning the person of Jesus.
This has not changed even in the present, and also applies to the Apostles who have been sent today, for example. The Christian faith is at times also met with indifference or even rejection. Many times it is also reduced to nothing more than its social or ethical content. And yet the core of the Christian message—namely the redemption of mankind from guilt and sin—remains in the dark.
Jesus, the light of the world
In our Bible text, the Lord Himself provides insight into His true being as the light of the world, and promises those who follow Him the light of life.
Light provides security
Even today in many regions it is not a matter of course that houses, cities, and streets are well lit at night. In some places it is pitch dark at night, and one can literally not see one’s hand in front of one’s eyes. Without light we become uncertain, are unable to see where we are going, are exposed to dangers, and are perhaps even fearful.
Human beings who live in sin experience unrest, uncertainty, fear, and suffering—they walk in darkness. By following Christ, however, they will gain certainty—and will then walk in the light.
We follow Jesus Christ. Through Him we
- Have the proper understanding of God. In His light “we see light” (Psalm 36: 9).
- Grasp the purpose and meaning of our lives (Luke 12: 16–21).
- Recognise our sins, regret them and repent and experience the grace of God (1 John 1: 8–9).
- Feel His love and no longer need to fear any punishment (1 John 4: 16–18).
Light provides orientation
Through our faith, the Lord grants us a clear perspective of the future in that we
- anticipate His return daily.
- hope for His continued deeds of redemption in the kingdom of peace.
- build on the promise of the new creation, where there will no longer be any death, suffering, dissatisfaction, or injustice, but instead only indescribable love, everlasting peace, and inexpressible happiness (Revelation 21: 3–5; Catechism 10).
Our lives: a “light” for others
Jesus, who is the light, also turns those who believe in Him and follow Him into a light themselves. Let us be aware that our words and our conduct must be like a light in a dark time. Let us use our words and deeds to point to Jesus Christ and His gospel, since we are so thankful for the certainty and orientation we receive through Jesus, the light of the world.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on Sunday, 14 June 2015