>Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.” John 8:12 I am currently doing a study on the names of Jesus, and one that rings very true in my work life is “the light of the World.” A pretty popular Psalm is 119:105, “your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” It is a fairly easy concept to know and yet, completely ignore. I find that working for a partner of Wycliffe Bible translators, this is drilled home in a whole new way.
Most people in the US can not even comprehend not knowing what the Bible is or even who Jesus is. That may be one of the reasons why our court rooms are flooded with controversy over this prized piece of work (though if people really believe it to be fiction, then I don’t see why they are so up in arms about people carrying it around…interesting thought I will have to ponder over another time…). But across the world, on an island called Papa New Guinea, there are over 800 individual languages and most of which do not have a Bible in their heart language. Amazing isn’t it?
God knew that the simile of light made sense to the Jewish nation, and thus used it often. Jesus used the direct approach in identifying himself, saying simply that “I am the light of the world.” (john 8:12) Likewise, he told his disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill that can not be hidden….In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16). This made sense because their prophet had used this term of phrase before, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” (Isaiah 9:2, 60:2) So too would they know the words of David as he wrote in the Psalm, “If I say, ‘surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:11-12) The usage of Light referring to God was not new, but something familiar, something they hung on to as a promise during their trials and tribulations. It was also know from the scriptures that light was associated with being in the presence of God (something that was only privy to the priests and rabbis of those days). “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.” (Exodus 34:29) This amazing transformation was then revealed to three of the disciples; “After six days Jesus took up with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.(Matthew 17:1-2)
It changes the mental picture of being a “light for a world in darkness” doesn’t it? I suppose my prayer is that I may draw so close to God that my face is found to be radiant because I have spoken with the Lord. I was told once that the light that shines the furthest, shines the brightest at home. So how can I claim to be a light if I am not shining the glory of God to my neighbors. Or the cashiers who check me out at Publix? Your radiance is not meant to be hid under a table during the day at work. It is meant to reach unto the ends of the earth with the promises of God and his glory. That is my challenge for all of you, as well as myself. Don’t just talk about, Be the Light of the World.