John 1:9 – 13

Jesus: The Life-Giving Light of the World

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Light!  What a wonderful thing light is.  What would we ever do if there was no light for us to see where we are and what was around us.  We probably don’t give it much thought at all since for most of us, if we wake up in the dark or enter a dark room, we simply reach out and turn on a switch.  And then, “Presto!” we have light.  We go from being in the dark to being in the light so quickly that we don’t even give it a second thought.

There are of course some people who are born blind or become blind later in life.  No doubt their lives are difficult, but there are others around who can help them with what they need.  And so they adjust to being blind.  They find ways to live their lives and they accept their handicap.  Even so, I would guess that part of them still yearns for the possibility that perhaps there may be a cure one day and they might be able to see the world around them.

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So whether we have sight and rely on artificial means to have light at night, or we are blind and need special apparatus or others to assist us in life, we all depend on something else to help us out.  But what if we had nothing at all to help us?  What if we were in absolute total darkness, like the Egyptians were when God sent a plague of darkness upon them that was so bad, no one dared move about or leave their homes for three days?  Notice how God describes the plague that He sent:

“Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.”       (Exodus 10:21)

It’s hard to imagine darkness that is so complete that it seems like you can actually feel it pressing in on you and smothering the life out of you.  Only once in the five years that I spent in the jungles of Papua New Guinea did I feel this kind of sensation.  I had been at a special celebration at one village which was more than a two-hour walk from our village.  The event went longer than I had anticipated, and by the time I had walked halfway home, it was pitch black on a moonless and cloudy night.

As I stumbled along behind my guide, I was so thankful that I had brought my flashlight.  Now bulbs and batteries are pretty weak and low-grade in PNG, but I trusted that dim, flickering cone of light, no bigger than a softball, to keep me safe and to help get me home.  Until it died!  And that is when I felt the crushing weight of absolute darkness.

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I’m sure I would have totally panicked if my guide had not been with me.  Don’t ask me how he saw in the darkness, but one footstep at a time, he led me along the trail, down through a running creek, up the other embankment, through the old deserted village area and around the edge of the swampy area.  And then I saw it.  As we broke through into the open, there was my house about 500 yards away, blazing brightly with its battery operated fluorescent lights.  I was safe from that horrible darkness.

That is a picture of what John 1:9 is trying to tell us.  All of mankind was lost in the darkness of their sinful ways, hoping to find their way to God by means of their own feeble efforts, just like me using that mostly dead flashlight.  And then the Light of God broke through into History as Jesus entered into our world.  He who was the very Creator, was now going to live among those whom He had created.  He is the true light which shines and offers the hope of life and salvation.

The sad thing is, the Jewish people lived in the certain expectation that God would one day send a Saviour to rescue them, but when He came, they did not recognize Him for who He really was.  As we will see later on in John 8:12, Jesus says this about Himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

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But not all people remain spiritually blind.  God continues to move and work in people’s lives so that they will see the truth, that this man Jesus was much more than just a man.  He has come from God, and as we saw in verses 1 and 2, He is in fact God.  As such, He is the true source of life, spiritual life, eternal life.  He wants to draw us into Himself, just like the lights on my house drew me in from the darkness.

When we accept Him and believe He is God’s Son who has come to give us life, then we get adopted into God’s family.  God, who created us, now relates to us as He has always wanted to, as our Heavenly Father.  And that makes Jesus our Brother.  We all together become God’s Family.  How cool is that!