The Light that Enlightens
Pr. A. T. Johnson
Most human beings are aware of what light means to human life. Most of us enjoy basking in the sunlight. Unfortu-nately however, some hate the light. They prefer the power of darkness and lead others to dangerous sinfulness of life. The people who love darkness rather than light intentionally do wrong in this world.
The Holy Bible presents God as Light. While Satan stands as the ruler and power of darkness, God comes to remove darkness. God wants to enlighten us. He is the source of all life and light, both physical and spiritual.
Some years ago, Albert Schweitzer, the great scholar and writer, said that he had always found the primitive natives of darkest Africa could more readily understand the Jesus portrayed by John’s Gospel than any other Gospel presentation. Thus, the Gospel of John has universal appeal. From the pages of this book come such words as Bread, Water, Love, Life, Light and Truth. All these words are very much related to the day-to-day life of people. Among these words, three stand out – Light, Life and Love.
Light characterizes God’s Son, the true light that came into the world. He is the source of light. Again and again, Jesus said that, “He is the light of the world’’ (John 8:12, 9:5, 12:46). It is one of the key points in John’s thought about Jesus (1 John 1:5-7). Jesus, the light of the world, is the one who clarifies the meaning and destiny of human existence.
What is the peculiar nature of Jesus Christ, the true light? The Gospel writer says that “it shines in darkness, and the darkness laid not hold of it” (John 1:5). Though the darkness tried to control Jesus, it could not prevail because He defeated it on the third day. In Him we find life to light the ways of man. This light leads all children of God. As the moon receives light from the sun, we, the children of God receive light from Jesus, the true light.
There is a remark about John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus in John’s writing – “He (John Baptist) was not the light, but was sent to bear witness of that light.” Jesus Christ, the creator and sustainer of this universe was introduced to the world by John the Baptist.
Jesus wants His light in men so that they become children of God (John 12:36). He is the only one who can prevent chaos in the world. The society in which we live today is becoming more complex and chaotic. Everywhere we see the presence of chaos. Chaos creates fear in the hearts of people. But the light that shines in their hearts can remove their fear. The perfect love which comes as light dispels the presence of chaos and fear.
The light of Jesus focuses on things as they are. The true nature and character of a man is revealed by the way in which the light is seen functioning in him. Hidden things are revealed when light shines its rays to the people. When the true light shines upon us, we come to realize that ‘all that glitters is not gold’.
Jesus, the true light, is the guiding force in human life. Since He is the master-light, He wants everybody to follow Him. How can we become His followers? We really need to know Him completely. Those who receive the true light and believe in it, walk no more in darkness (John 12:46). Everybody knows that darkness is hostile to light. Therefore, know the light and courageously follow it in all aspects of life. A man under sin loves darkness and hates light. But when Christ enters into a sinner’s life, the light transforms him. The power of darkness no longer has authority over him. The real transfor-mation happens in a man only with light. He then experiences fellowship with God and like-minded men.
Jesus, the true light, removes ignorance from our hearts. He fills our minds with the light of knowledge. “Knowledge is light, and ignorance is darkness,” we are told. We may have heard a prayer, ‘Light, lead us’. What is the light that leads us to the real pathway of life? The answer is Jesus Christ! He is the only way to eternal life from eternal damnation (John 3:18-20). Let us love Jesus the Light more than other things in the world.
Jesus is the light of knowledge. In Him we find the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). Many people in ignorance have come to know Christ Jesus, the true light which illuminates in them. Many committed servants of God have come to India and gone to the darkest parts of the world, removing ignorance that hid them, bringing them to an understanding of eternal life. ‘Do not curse the darkness, but light a candle’. The candle which shines everywhere is none other than Jesus Himself. The obstacles of life can be overcome by this lit candle.
A Bible character who faced the stronghold of darkness was Job. He faced severe calamities in his life, yet continued to hold fast to the true light shone in his life: “O that I were in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness” (Job.29:3). The light gives knowledge and power of discernment. Here we come to acknowledge that all the light of ‘this world’ will die out, but Jesus the true light were lasts forever. That is why Job received back the enlightened life again in the latter end.
According to William Barclay, “Just as the flower can never blossom when it never sees the sunlight, so our lives can never blossom with grace and beauty until we are enlightened with the light of the presence of Jesus.”
Physically, mentally and spiritually a man is enlightened through Jesus Christ. The enlightened one must follow in the footprints of the Enlighter. “He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
In Greek the word for ‘to follow’ is ‘akolouthein’ which reveals what it means to follow Jesus. This Greek word has five different but closely connected meanings – (a) a soldier following his captain, (b) a slave accompanying his master, (c) accepting a wise counselor’s opinion, (d) obeying the laws of a city or a state, (e) following a teacher’s line of argument or of following the gist of someone’s speech.
These above words remind us that we need to submit our body, soul and spirit to our Master Enlightener. Many problems are beyond us. By ourselves, we may take wrong directions. We need Jesus Christ, the true light, to show us the way. As we follow Him, we can lead others to this true light.