Concise Lexicon of Christianity

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Teachings, worship, rites, sermons, and terminology

The Light of the World

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, Satan rules the world, but I shine on my followers. Whoever follows me will never suffer misfortune, but will always have good luck.
—John 8:12, Reversed Fractured Version

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, I am the light of the world; Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
—John 8:12, NIV

What a terrible thing it is to be a small child who gets a bicycle for his birthday on a rainy day! He peeps out meekly at the angry sky and sees nothing but blustery clouds from horizon to horizon! The day lasts an eternity, and somewhere deep inside his disappointment, he despairs that the sun will ever return. Yet above the clouds the sun still reigns! The sun will burn off all the clouds, the winds will blow them away, and soon the days are sunny again.

Time flows very slowly for the young, the impatient, and the distressed. Adversity seems permanent and overbearing, but its end is so quick that we often forget its terrors. (And by forgetting its terrors we miss out on acquiring much wisdom.)

The sun is the light of the earth. No matter how bad the storm may be, the sun shines above it, and will triumph over it.

Jesus is the light of the world. No matter how tough the times are, no matter what indignities we must suffer in this life, someday the indignities will end and Jesus’ triumph will be revealed. The sun never ceases shining; sometimes clouds get in our way and prevent us from observing it, yet we do not lose faith in the sun! We do not call up the local astronomical observatory and ask where the sun has gone and when it will return! We think that is funny, but why is it that when the clouds of adversity cloud our view of Jesus, we run to a church and ask why God has gone away and when He will come back? Or we lose faith altogether, conclude that we have been abandoned—until the clouds clear up as clouds always do and we can see Jesus in our lives again. Fools as we are, we forget the lesson we’ve just learned and repeat the panic the next time.

How fickle we are! How weak is our faith! We do not cease to believe in the sun because of a cloudy day, but if one little adversity clouds our view of Jesus, we lose heart and faint.

Now I want you to notice something important. Jesus said He is the light of the world. Yes, the world. Satan was vanquished on the cross and Jesus rules supremeMatthew 28:18. Jesus rules over all creation; Satan rules over a kingdom of lies, deceit, and illusions. Jesus’ light is not a fragile flicker that must be carefully tended by his huddled faithful; it is a bright, blinding light that engulfs all things! Just as you might block the light of the sun by standing behind a tree, you can block the light of Jesus by standing in Satan’s illusions, but like the light of the sun, the shadow does not extinguish the light. Shadows depend on a light source for their existence, even as there can be no lies without truth to deny; therefore we see that Jesus is supreme and Satan is subordinate, that Jesus’ light rules over all, even over the darkness and the lies.

Therefore on these cloudy days, do not lose your head! The sun shines above the clouds and will soon dissipate them. If you consult a meteorologist, he will tell you that the sun actually causes the clouds to form and the rain to fall. If you patiently wait out the storm, you will see the many benefits that the rainfall brings... after all, too many sunny days makes a desert, and who wants to live there?

In these troubled times, look above the clouds of adversity and see the Light of the World. He drives the weather in your life; He brings the rain so that your future won’t be bleak and desolate.

You are no longer a child. Stop moping over troubled times! Put away your bicycle for the sunny day that will surely come, and bring out rainy-day things.

Jesus is the Light of the world. If we follow Him, we have the light of life.

I lift up my eyes to the hills;
     from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the LORD,
     the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved
     and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel
     shall neither slumber nor sleep;
The LORD himself watches over you;
     the LORD is your shade at your right hand,
So that the sun shall not strike you by day
     nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
     it is he who shall keep you safe.
The LORD shall watch over your going out and your coming in,
     from this time forth for evermore.
—Psalm 121, BCP translation