Light is such a strange thing. We love it as long as it suits our purposes. We design our houses to have windows in strategic places to let in natural light and we design our lighting in each room according to the use of the room or the atmosphere we desire. But sometimes light is not so welcome. Each morning I get up and look into a mirror that has five light bulbs above it. I hate it. The first thing I see each morning is a brightly lit image of every flaw, wrinkle and sag on my face. I often prefer to brush my teeth in the dark. As a child we often lived in southern rentals where cockroaches thrived. I refused to turn any light on at night because I was afraid of what I might see. Truth is, when it comes to spiritual things we prefer the darkness, and that should not surprise us. The Bible teaches us that because of the fall all of us are, by nature, living in darkness. Our sin so separates us from the holiness and light of God that we are unable to see it, understand it or desire it. Because of this we live in a dark world filled with sin, suffering and fear. We are by nature trapped in darkness and afraid of the light, because when the light shines on us we see things that we do not want to see.
That is why it is so critical to grasp what Jesus meant when He said, “I am the light of the world.” We are so familiar with that phrase that I’m not sure we fully comprehend its meaning. Light of the World is not just another name for Jesus, or a warm, welcoming description of who He is. It is a vivid description of His essence and our greatest need. He alone is the antidote to our darkness. We have no hope unless Jesus, through His mercy and grace, shines the light of holiness shine into our dark places, letting us see just how sinful we are and how holy He is. It is this piercing light of truth that brings us to the place where we truly acknowledge our sin and cry out for mercy.
But then what? What happens after, as Charles Wesley describes God’s work in his hymn “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”: “Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light, my chains fell of and my heart was free?” That is what we are going to look at Sunday from 1 John 1:5-10. As you prepare for Sunday, read the passage and ask yourself these three questions:
- Where does the light come from? V.5
- What happens when the light shines on us? V.9
- What happens when we live in the light? V.7