Jesus Christ identified Himself as the light of the world. This would have been no surprise to people familiar with the scriptures, for God has always connected Himself with light. It’s a common analogy in scripture — light is found with God and whatever is not of God is in darkness. As I’ve studied this concept, I’ve been excited to realize the Light connection goes even deeper than I originally knew (and probably far deeper than I’ve yet discovered as well). To quote Paul, “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!” (Rom. 11:33, WEB)
Last week, we started with a side-by-side comparison of the opening verses from Genesis and John’s gospel. As we learned in that post, John and several Jewish rabbis identify the Light spoken of in Genesis with the Messiah. We know this Messiah is Jesus (Messiah and Christ both mean “anointed, who says He came to this earth in human form as “the light of the world”). You’ll want to make sure you’ve read last week’s post before continuing with this one. Click here to go back and read “The Light From The Beginning, Part One.”
From Darkness to Light
God has “called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” for a reason (1 Pet. 2:9). God longs for a relationship with us, but “God is light” and we cannot enter the relationship that He wants to have with us if we are walking in darkness.
This is the message which we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and don’t tell the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7, WEB)
It is one of the central truths of the Christian faith that God loves us and wants us to be in relationship with Him. Light does not, however, fellowship with darkness (2 Cor. 6:14). Apart from the work of Jesus in us as the Light, we would not be able to draw close to God. Following Him is what takes us out of darkness to walk in Light.
seeing it is God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4:6, WEB)
In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light.” Now He shines that Light straight into our hearts through Jesus Christ. It is ” light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” That’s a phrase packed with meaning, so let’s take a closer look at it.
Shining Faces of Glory
A “shining face” in Hebrew thought carries the idea of having favor on someone, as we talked about a couple weeks ago in my post “Faces to Faces with God.” (Remember, though Paul wrote in Greek, he did so from the perspective of a Jewish rabbi.) When your face shines on someone, you’re showing them special attention, investing in them, and doing good things for them (Num. 6:24-26).
May God be merciful to us, bless us, and cause his face to shine on us. (Ps. 67:1, WEB)
Turn us again, God. Cause your face to shine, and we will be saved. (Ps. 80:3, WEB)
The favor carried in Christ’s face shining on us specifically includes “the knowledge of the glory of God.” The Greek word for glory is doxa (G1391). It means splendor, brightness, majesty, dignity, and honor. Glory shines brightly, especially the glory of God (John 1:14).
making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints (Eph. 1:16-18, WEB)
Enlightenment from God the Father through Jesus the Messiah has profound consequences for us. There is real, deep, transformation accomplished by the Light taking us out of darkness.
Light Past, Present, and Forever
Long ago, God promised through the prophet Malachi, “unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings” (Mal. 4:2, KJV). One of the names and titles of Jesus is Dayspring, Dawn, and/or Morning Star (Luke 1:78). This role He fills goes all the way back to Genesis when God said, “Let there be light,” and there was evening and morning before creation of sun, stars, and moon (Gen. 1:3-5). This role continues through the ages, and even long into the future.
For we didn’t follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. … We have the more sure word of prophecy; and you do well that you heed it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star arises in your hearts (2 Pet. 1:16, 19, WEB)
Jesus is “the root and the offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16, WEB). We follow Him, who is “the true light that enlightens everyone” (John 1:9). The Word, who is and was God, and whom we now know as Jesus, has always been the one shining God’s light into the world. And He always will be.
There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no night, and they need no lamp light or sun light; for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign forever and ever. (Rev. 22:3-5, WEB)
In the midst of trying and uncertain times, it’s reassuring to recognize that God has always been there and always will be. He has had a plan in place from the foundation of the earth that involves working out good things in our lives and for the entire human race. That plan will not fail. We can count on Him and continue to walk in His light no matter how crazy things get in the world around us.
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