“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
As a child I was afraid of the dark. I would not be able to go to sleep unless there was some type of light on and eventually started sleeping with a television on in my room because of my fear of the dark. If I were to go to sleep and the power were to go off, or if for some reason the television would go off, I would immediately wake up and reach for my back-up plan, which was a flashlight that I always kept by my bed. As I have gotten older, I have grown out of that fear and at times prefer the darkness over the light.
Now I love to sit and watch television in the dark and cannot sleep unless the room is completely dark, although my wife and children love to turn on as many lights in the house as possible. Lights are very important and are needed for safe traveling whether it is by car, plane, or boat, without the light there could potentially be a catastrophe that would occur.
When we look at the creation account found in Genesis 1 and 2, God did not create anything until it had everything needed for the thing created to sustain. For instance, He did not create vegetation until light and water were created and did not create animals until vegetation was created. It is interesting to me that the first thing God created was light. There must be something about light that is essential to the survival of everything that exists. As we dig a little deeper, we read that there was an eternal plan of God before the world was created (Eph. 3:10-11), which is the plan of redemption made available by the Light of the World.
If we connect all the dots together, we begin to understand that before there was sin there was a Savior, before there was guilt there was grace, and before there was darkness from disobedience there was a Light that going to come into the world to redeem man from the problem of sin. Jesus stated, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) and as we examine what the Scriptures declare about Jesus, we can come to a better understanding of that Light.
Before Jesus offered Himself on the cross on our behalf, there was darkness. Under the Old Covenant there was no remission of sins. Sin entered the world by the disobeying of God’s commands (Gen. 3:5ff.) and from that moment on man would be separated from God because of sin (Isa. 59:2). Under the Old Covenant sin was a reality but there was no remission for it made available and the people were commanded to make atonement for sin every year (Lev.23:27ff.), but this act was to be made every year as sin was unable to be completely removed. The Light of the world (Jesus) had not come into the world yet and the darkness of sin could not be completely removed.
There was light for the children of Israel, however. Moses was able to see the burning bush and the Great I AM would communicate with him (Exodus 3). As the children of Israel wandered through the wilderness, God would guide them by light, having a pillar of cloud in the daytime, and a pillar of fire at night (Exodus 13:21). God promised to commune with Israel from above the mercy seat which was in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:22; Exodus 40:34ff.). The prophets proclaimed the Light of the World would come. Isaiah proclaimed there would be a time when people could walk in the paths of the Light (Isa. 2:2-3). Daniel prophesied there was a King and a kingdom that was coming that would not be destroyed (Daniel 2:44). Joel declared there would come a time when deliverance would be available (Joel 2:32). The earliest prophecy concerning the coming of the Light into the world is found in Genesis 3:15, and just as sin had entered the world, God made the promise of the Savior that would defeat sin.
Jesus is the Light and was sent to be the light for those in darkness. Jesus took on the form of a servant, was made in the fashion of man, and was obedient unto death, even death on the cross (Phil. 2:5ff.). John was preaching the coming of the Light into the world (John 1:5-9), and as he saw Jesus he rightfully proclaimed “Behold! The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus did not deny His deity but rightly announced “I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12) and went to the cross to offer the Light to any who will obey His will (Matt. 11:28-30).
In offering Himself, He provided remission of sin (Matt. 26:28; Hebrews 9:22), and those that are in darkness of sin can come out of the darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). Now that remission of sin is available, those that bury their sin in baptism (Rom. 6:3-4; Acts 22:16) can walk in the light (1 John 1:5-9), having fellowship with God and having a cleansing from sin.
Lights are important, but the Light of the world is most important. We do not have to be afraid of the darkness of sin because the Light of the world has been provided for us. May we continue to walk in the light!