(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
The Light of the World
15th December 2007
The Bible gives Jesus many names. The start of John's gospel is well-known for calling Him "The Word":
The Greek word "logos", which the NIV and others translate as "Word", could also be translated as "utterance" or "sentence". My preferred translation of it is "Message". Jesus is God's Message to us. He came to show many things; He is the ultimate demonstration of the character of God, and He is the ultimate example of what a human can be.
That's why John went on the call Jesus "the light".
For 2000 years, Jesus has stood alone as the Message from God, the proof of the love of God and the ideal human. No-one else did what He did, or said what He said. But the Message isn't only what He said, or what He did, it's Him himself. He is the Light of men. We understand God, and we understand mankind, because Jesus came to teach us, and to show us. He is still uniquely the Message; no-one else comes close, because only Jesus Christ is Emmanuel - God With Us (another name the Bible gives Him). But many don't understand the Jesus Christ the Message.
John the Baptist realised that Jesus is unique:
And if - like John - you recognise the Light of the World, then you can be utterly changed!
Just in case you didn't get it first time, John repeats:
Jesus is God. And God choose to become human, and to live with us, to share our experiences and to show us that there's a better way to live.
Later, Jesus called Himself the Light of the World:
To avoid walking in darkness, we need the light of life. Jesus is that Light. But can we recognise Him as God's unique Message? Can we believe in Him?
But Jesus said a couple more very interesting thing about this. Firstly, He said:
And He also said:
Yes, folks. Jesus is the Light of the World. But since He ascended into heaven, he shines through the church. How much the world recognises Jesus the Light of the World depends on how brightly the church shines.