December 29, 2018

Light of the World

John 8:12-18

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

—  John 8:12

The sun is the light of our natural world. Without the sun, no life on earth could exist. According to the Bible, though, life means more than merely physical existence; it also includes spiritual life. At Christmas, we celebrate the spiritual life-giving light given to a world shrouded in spiritual darkness.

At the end of the Feast of Tabernacles, in the context of our passage from John, four gigantic lampstands (possibly 75 feet high) were lit in the temple. While this light blazed over the temple courts, the crowds celebrated, commemorating the travels of Israel in tents in the wilderness after God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt.

In this setting Jesus claims to be the “light of the world.” He does not claim that he will liberate Israel from the oppression of Rome, however. Instead, he makes the more startling claim of delivering sinners from the darkness of rebellion against God, a darkness that infects us individually and plagues our world with hatred and violence. Jesus’ salvation is for all who believe in him. He is a “light to the nations,” to all peoples around the world who believe in him.

Many people reject Jesus’ claim. Do you know the “light of the world?” If you do, let him shine in your life and bring you into closer fellowship with the Father and the people around you.

Light of the world, shine in our hearts so that we can reflect your love in this dark world. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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