When my wife and I were in college, we went on a mission trip to work with homeless people on the lower east side of Manhattan. We stayed in a six-storey building where the fifth floor was rented out by the local Baptist association. When we needed kitchen facilities, we had to take the elevator down to the second floor. Getting off the elevator, we found ourselves in darkness. We fumbled around in the dark, bumping into things in that unfamiliar place, until we found the light switch. And do you know what happened in that old, run-down New York City building when the lights came on? Hundreds of huge New York cockroaches scattered! It looked like the floor was moving! It made us forget about using the kitchen facilities at all!
Light changes everything. And Jesus is the light. That’s probably why the darkness-dwellers of His day didn’t like Him. Like cockroaches, they scattered when He exposed their deeds. They became angry when He made claims they couldn’t deny. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8.12 ESV).” Jesus’ light shines in the darkness, exposing the unclean things in our lives. It leads us to a point of decision. It calls us to make a change.
Light was the first change in the universe. In Genesis 1.3 (ESV), God said, “Let there be light!” And nothing’s been the same since then. With His light He pushed back darkness—both as a physical reality and as a spiritual entity. John 1.3-4 (ESV) says, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Life and light are interchangeable in Scripture—because Jesus gives us both.
Throughout the Bible, God has shown Himself through the medium of light. He appeared to Moses in the burning bush. He led Israel through the desert by a pillar of fire. God’s shining glory filled the temple. Within the temple, in the holy place, stood a golden lamp stand that was called The Light of the World. When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” the people knew exactly what He meant.
Light guides you. It helps you to see the truth. It keeps you from stumbling. It reveals error and sin, and brings you to a place of decision. When the lights come on, everything changes. The question is—when God’s light shines in your life, what are you going to do? Are you going to continue on with what you were doing in the darkness, or will you call the heavenly Exterminator and get rid of your sinful infestations? John 1.5 (ESV) gives us great news: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The best news is that light always drives out the darkness, and never the other way around! I pray that God will shine His light in your life. I pray that He’ll reveal the hidden things that you need to see, so that you can deal with them. And then I pray that you’ll make a decision to live in the light of His life.