The place where we are staying faces East. If we get up early enough, we can watch the sun rise, coming up over the sunrise mountains. This morning there are some clouds, the first we have seen here. And it is quiet. The rising sun brings with it the promise of another day. The light bringing hope for those whose is in short supply. As I walked this morning it was quiet. Las Vegas is a city of lights. From the signs to the advertising trucks moving up and down the strip, to the huge video monitors on every hotel and casino. There is light. It is difficult to drive on the strip at night because it is a challenge to pick out the stop lights amid all the other lights. This is an exciting place. People come here from all over the world. Some come for the shows. Some come to watch humanity, and some come hoping to win big.
I was here once when they were honoring a famous entertainer who had just died, and the lights on the strip were shut off for five minutes. Other than the stop lights, it was pitch dark. It was almost like the world had come to an end. Like Phoenix, you can see the lights of this city long before you are actually in the city. The lights are welcoming, sometimes a relief. But all these lights are man-made. Every one of these lights are subject to fail. Every one of them has the chance to break. And when the power goes off, we are often plunged into darkness. This is what happens when we rely on things that are human made. Everything we touch has the potential to stop working. But we put a lot of trust into these sorts of things.
We rely on light that isn't always reliable. We trust in the things of this world...a world tainted by sin. But there is other light. In John 8:12 Jesus tells us He is the light of the world. When Jesus says this, He is speaking from His relationship with His Father. Because Jesus speaks from God. He is God’s Son. Jesus speaks for God. He came to make God and His love known to His people. And, Jesus speaks as God because He and the Father are one. If we do not have Jesus in our lives, we walk in darkness. Not only is Jesus the light of the world, but His light shines in the dark places in our lives. Sometimes those places are struggles we are going through. His light guides us in the way we should go to find our way out of the darkness. Other times, His light shines on the dark places in our lives we do not want anyone to see, even Jesus. That light convicts us of our sins and helps us remove sin in our lives.
The Greek word used here is ‘phos’. It means the light...anything emitting light...brightness. Jesus says I AM the light of the world. He doesn't say I look like light. He doesn't say I reflect the light. He says He IS the light. Light is part of who Jesus is. Theologian Matthew Henry says this, ”Christ is the light of the world. God is light, and Christ is the image of the invisible God. One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more.” We use flashlights, candles and lanterns to guide the way in the darkness. But there is a far deeper darkness than night. That is the darkness of the evil one, the darkness of sin. In that same verse, John 8:12 we see the word darkness. The Greek here is ’skotia’. It means darkness due to the want of light. It is used to define ignorance of divine things. It is associated with wickedness and the resulting misery in hell. This verse shows us that if we do not walk in the light of Jesus Christ, we walk in the darkness of the sin of the world.
If we go back to the creation story, we read in Genesis 1:4 that “God said let there be light and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.” Jesus was part of creation. He is the light of the world. All who are separated from Him or far from Him live in darkness. Often that leaves us knowing something is missing in our lives, but we do not know what. Not only do we see Jesus in the beginning at creation, and in Johns gospel as the light of the world, but we also see Jesus as light at the beginning of John’s gospel. The prophet Isaiah reminds us in 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” John tells us that Jesus has been since the beginning and it is in Jesus that we have life, and He is the light off all mankind. Jesus is the true light that shines in the darkness. Read the prologue of Johns gospel...1:1-18. It is enlightening...no pun intended. In the Book of Revelation 21:23, ”And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light and its lamp is the lamb.” In other words...Jesus is the light.
We sing a song with the words. “The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning, it's time to sing your song again. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.” It is called 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. It was quiet this morning as the sun came up. And I wondered if it was quiet that first morning, when God said let there be light. Or maybe...the angels were singing.
In His grip
Pastor Matt W