“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”John 8:12
Linda and I have visited Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. As you approach the entrance of the cave you feel the source of its namesake. It is as if someone had turned a giant fan on within the mouth of the monstrous cavern, pouring cool air on the hot dry tourists. It felt refreshing compared to the heat and aridity of the Dakota plains. As we walked further into the tunnel, we realized that the string of lights that guided our way, seemed inadequate for their intended purpose and I wondered if they were like Christmas tree lights of old, if one bulb goes out, all the rest of the lights would follow suit. Such is my dislike of dark unknown spaces.
When we entered the main chamber, our guide asked us not to turn on any lights that we may have brought with us, explaining that within this particular chamber we would experience total darkness, such darkness so complete it would be as if we had lost our sight. With a flick of a switch, we were plunged into total darkness, a darkness I have never experienced since that day. All I can remember from that experience was the continuous movement of my eyes searching for any source of light, wanting desperately to see something, any shape, any contrast to the utter nothingness that surrounded me.
JESUS IS THE LIGHT… WHY LIGHT? The introductory verse of Scripture certainly speaks of another light source and most of us would recognize without context that Jesus is making the proclamation, that He indeed is the Light of the World. And because of who Jesus is, His promise is true, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness…” This could be the end of the article, but such ending would preclude a complete understanding of true light in the face of total darkness. To put it in spiritual terms, one cannot have an appreciation for spiritual enlightenment until one grasp’s the intensity of their spiritual darkness.
CONTEXT FOR CONTRAST—If you want to understand how extreme true spiritual light is in contrast to spiritual darkness, it would be wise to study John 8:12 in context. To put it another way; we cannot know how good, good is, until we understand how bad, bad is. Thus, we will understand light is good, darkness is bad, spiritually speaking.
Within the context of John 8:12 we are brought face to face with true spiritual darkness as Jesus enters the temple. It was the morning after Jesus had spent the night on the Mount of Olives. As the crowd gathered around Messiah for His morning instruction, the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery (8:3). Please don’t gloss over this section. Take a moment to absorb the atmosphere, the sounds, sights, smells of an early morning spiritual session with the Son of God back dropped by the complete and utter darkness of the Israel’s spiritual leaders as they disrupt Jesus’ teaching, bringing this daughter of Israel before Him. There are a few things you don’t want to miss within this scenario. You don’t want to miss the lack of respect for Jesus as a rabbi as they disrupt His teaching. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be seated at the feet of the One who created the universe, receiving spiritual light and guidance from the Rabbi of all rabbis, only to be interrupted by the presence of men whose evil is only matched by the devil himself? Then, there is also a total lack of respect for God’s law that makes it clear that both man and woman caught in the act of adultery were to be executed for their crime (Deuteronomy 22:22). This whole narrative is an unsightly evil, blind men leading the blind, stumbling over their own lostness, groping for control over their world and Jesus, as He speaks light to their darkened souls.
WE NEED THE LIGHT BECAUSE—Light can be brutally honest, it is the exposer of imperfections, the discloser of dark secrets, secrets hidden in the caves and crevices of our hearts and minds. Jesus didn’t have to accuse the woman of adultery because He already knew what she was, and trust me when I say this, the man that she was with, didn’t get away with anything. Jesus knew him too. But this passage isn’t about the woman caught in adultery, it is about men with darkened hearts being manifested in every form of wickedness, as they vomit out their hate for Jesus.
But pure, perfect, and holy light is not only an exposer of all that is evil and all that is wicked within the human heart, but the exposer of WHO is needed for its healing—Jesus. As followers of Jesus there should never be a time in our life that we should walk in darkness, knowing so well that He is our light. The light that Jesus gives us isn’t a tool, like a flashlight on a dark night when the power goes out, He is so much more than that. Jesus is the light to all we must understand that is good, holy, and perfect in this life. For me, I want Jesus to shine His light on me every hour of every day, exposing me for what and who I really am, so that I can see exactly who and what I need to be in order to become more like Him. The brighter the light, the better I see my flaws, the sooner I can start to fix those flaws. Am I still flawed after all the fixing? Most certainly, but here is the best part, Jesus’ light never stops shining and there is always enough of His light to shine into our darkness. How about you, are you allowing the light of Jesus to shine on the darkest regions of your life?
This is Pastor Whalen wishing you Joy in Jesus!