Names of Jesus: Light of the World

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.” (John 9:1-7 - emphasis added)

In the passage above, Jesus declared himself to be the light of the world. What does this mean? The context of his declaration is extremely important to our understanding of it. After encountering a blind man, he explained to his disciples what the role of disabilities and weaknesses in our lives is - they are to display the power of Jesus. Then he heals the blind man. These two acts display exactly how Jesus is the light of the world.

First, light stands out in darkness. Our world is full of darkness. Everywhere we look, there is evil and suffering. We try to distract ourselves with things we think will provide us with light - entertainment, political ideologies, gossip, earthly pleasures, romantic relationships, etc. But these things give off no light! If not for Jesus, there would be only darkness and chaos. We see this in the second verse of the Bible:

“The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (Genesis 1:2). Jesus, who is the Word of God (John 1:1), was spoken as light into our world.

But, secondly, Jesus’ light is not only to display his own glory, but also to allow us to see. As he healed the blind man, he revealed the other property of light - it gives us sight. Jesus is our guiding light, “a lamp to my feet/and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119). His light allows us to follow him, to see the way of Christ more clearly.

The beautiful thing about Christ’s light is that it lives in us, too. We get to display the light of Jesus in a dark world. We get to help others see the way of Jesus. We not only get to bask in Christ’s warm glow, we also get to bring the warmth to all around us. Jesus said this about us:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

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