Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Oh, Lord, I am so glad that You kept on speaking and sharing Yourself with others, even if they weren’t listening and understanding. But there were always some who were listening. And I’m here listening today. I may not always understand but You are making a promise to me here that as long as I’m listening and letting You shed Your light on me, I will understand. It’s a promise.
There is so much that is important here. Really, this is just awesome truth being revealed here. Even the word “will” is important. Will speaks of a done deal, something that is going to occur, no doubt about it. The King James Version uses the word “shall” and I looked it up. I love to use Noah Webster’s original dictionary because he was a man who loved God. And You gave him a love for digging into words. Well, he shares some great details about the meaning of “shall” in the second and third person. Let me share, “shall implies a promise, command, or determination…usage gives these phrases the force of a promise in the person uttering them.” And who better to utter a promise than You? Who is more able to fulfill that promise than You?
But what is that promise and where does it come from? Well it all stems from Your essence, Your character, the entirety of who You are. And You are sharing here that Your essence is light. Which takes me ahead to 1 John 1:5 in which our same author here, John, tells us “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” So when You are telling me that You are the Light of the world, You are not just telling me that You shine in the world, You are telling me that You are light, and You are the ONLY light in the world. Remove You, and the world becomes hidden in total darkness and chaos. You are the light necessary for everything I need in this world and You are the light that the world needs. Existence ceases without You.
So, I wanted to learn more about You this morning which led me to check out this word “light” or “phos” in Greek. Which led me to a wonderful sermon by Ray Stedman. I’m going to refer to him frequently as I dig in to Your truth here. Now, in this verse from John and in 1 John 1:5, light is contrasted with darkness. God is light. What light is and does is the character, the essence of God. He doesn’t just do it, He is that quality. And since You and God are one, You, too, are light. And where light exists there is no darkness. So I want to look at the character of light, or rather, the character of Light.
“Darkness conceals, but light reveals….That is the first function of light. It enables us to see things that have been there all the time but which we could never see till the light shines. ..God, also, does that. God reveals reality. God, through Christ, opens up the eyes of the heart and life comes into focus and we see clearly, without distortion…But the purpose of God’s entering into human hearts is that we might see reality. Light reveals, and so does God.” So light reveals, therefore God/Jesus/You reveal. Actually You are Revelation. But what is revealed?
Everything. Everything that we really need to know is revealed. You are Truth. You reveal Truth. You reveal Yourself to us. And as You reveal Yourself to us, all other “mysteries” fall in place. And I love how Ray Stedman realized this truth: “The mystery of self was revealed by the light as it shone upon me from the word of the only One who knows what is in man.” Jesus, You reveal everything to me and even make me to know my own heart and the heart of man in general. In knowing You, I come to know myself. So, You reveal, but is that all? What else is a characteristic of light? How else does Your character work?
“But that is not light’s only quality. It also measures. Did you ever watch a man pick up a stick of lumber, hold it up, and sight along it? What is he doing? He is trying to see if it is crooked or not. What reveals that? A beam of light. He is measuring it against a ray of light, because light is straight and anything that does not correspond to the light is crooked. Light is the most common measuring stick in the universe. We measure whether things are straight or crooked by light. Surveyors use light to measure distances and angles, to see whether they are up or down, high or low, right or left…God is a measuring stick, a point of reference. You can use God to measure everything else.” So, I see that You reveal Yourself, and in so doing, You reveal my own heart and character. But You also are what I am to measure myself by. Everything must be measured up to You, the Measuring Stick. You alone are Holy. You alone are Straight and Right. You are not just a light or a measuring stick, You are Light and You are Holiness. You aren’t just one, You are IT.
“Light not only reveals and measures, but light energizes too. That is the most dramatic quality about light. It imparts life, it activates, it quickens….God is light and God intensifies, fulfills, and glorifies our essential humanity. He does not destroy it. He takes it and leads it on through the darkness into an ever-growing experience of life and vitality and productivity…” So here is the third quality of light. You are Revelation, You are Holiness, and You are Life. Without You there is no life, only darkness and death.
I did an experiment with one of my students in third grade once. We grew seedlings. One set was in a container in the dark. And at first the seeds will grow because of the water in the soil and the warmth. But to continue in the darkness would lead to death. That’s why the seedlings kept reaching toward the cabinet door. They were stretching towards that little bit of light, that little bit of life that was trying to break in. I suppose it’s also why winter is so tough on us and we sometimes get a little more depressed. There is less light and our bodies know it. Take away the sun and our planet would perish.
This truth means everything. You, Jesus are Revelation, the Measure, and Life. Yes, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You and God are One. Your character is His character and His character is Your character. Your essence is One. This is who You are. And the glorious promise to me and every person is that if I follow You, follow Your essence, I am promised by You that I will possess You, I will have You.
“He that follows me.” That’s the same type of following that the disciples were called to do. I leave my old world behind, that old man behind, and I truly follow You, Jesus. I live with You, I breathe the air You breathe, I continually learn from You, and I spend every minute with You that I can. I attach myself to You like nothing else. And remember, You called me first. You’re the One who said, “Come, follow me.” You call us by Your Divine authority. It’s not about being a voluntary follower. Being Yours is lifechanging, with eternal consequences for both myself and others. And You call me to serve Your kindgom with You, to bring Your kingdom into fruition.
A.W. Tozer said “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” That’s so true. Do I really understand that You are Light? Are You my Light? When things seem to overwhelm me, when life gets confusing and hurtful, do I look to You to reveal to me how to handle things? Or do I hide from You and Your revelation under an umbrella of my own construction. Lord, Your Light exists through everything. I want to look at You rightly and remove anything that would block me from Your Light, from You. I want to receive Your “healing, cleansing, glorifying, fulfilling light” and allow it to change me. You are my Light. You reveal truth to me. You measure life. You give me “a reference point by which the false can be separated from the true.” “You fulfill, You glorify, You energize, You vitalize.” You are Light and that is where I want to be, in You. Let me follow You and live in the Light that is You all the days of my life. That’s the way I want to be in, the same Way You Are.