Human beings are familiar with the experience of day and night. Light and dark are used as metaphors. The light symbolizes what is good. Dark symbolizes what is not good or bad. If a person does not understand something, they are said to be “in the dark”.
Conversely, if you have an understanding regarding a particular subject, you are considered “enlightened”.
In Scripture, light speaks of God (1 John 1:5) and darkness speaks of sin and Satan (John 3:19-21). Sinners perform acts of darkness. Whereas God’s people should live as “children of light”. The book of Revelation tells us that there is no night in heaven (Revelation 21:25).
Unbelievers are lost in darkness (John 12:46). Believers are called “out of darkness into the wondrous light of God.” (1 Peter 2:9)
In the eighth chapter of John, the religious leaders bring to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus initially ignores the accusers. As the story progresses, Jesus pronounces condemnation on the accusers with a profound declaration: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at him.”
How did the accusers respond? Starting. John 8:9 notes: “Then those who had heard him convinced by their conscience went out one by one, beginning with the eldest to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the middle.
In John 8:10-11, Jesus does not condemn the woman. Instead, he challenges her to go away and sin no more. John 8:12 is the central text: “Then Jesus spake unto them again, saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'”
In this season of Lent, it is crucial that we remember that Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the light that dwells in the darkness. God is light and Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
But it is also important for us to remember: “…whoever follows Jesus will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life. Our present world is full of darkness, just as the world was in the days of Jesus. Pain, misery, poverty, war, murder, chaos, abuse, neglect, addictions, political and religious corruption, and the continued oppression of the poor and excluded are all darkness.
Our joy is found in believing that Jesus is the light of the world. There are two advantages to following Jesus. First, you will not walk in darkness. As a traveler follows the light in a dark night, it is our duty to follow Jesus. It is our duty to submit to him. His path leads to happiness and light.
Second, you will have the “light of life”. False lights lead to destruction. But Christ is the true light. It is not enough to simply look at its light. It is not enough to believe in its light. We must follow its light and walk in it daily.
All who follow Jesus will have the “light of life.” The “light of life” is that knowledge and pleasure which leads to fulfillment in this life and to the fulfillment of eternal life.
Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis.