On the day that Jesus was circumcised, being eight days old, a man named Simeon, upon seeing the baby Jesus, said of Him, “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:32).
The apostle John begins his gospel account by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:1-5).
He said further of Jesus, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh unto the world” (John 1:9). Jesus later told Nicodemus, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). And later Jesus stated, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Jesus brought light by which man could see the way to eternal life. Yet, as both John the Baptist and Jesus pointed out, many do not comprehend the light, but rather love darkness. Basically, the idea of Jesus as the light of the world is that His message, which was God’s word, was, and is, that by which we are to be guided. As the psalmist wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
John records how Jesus gave sight to a man that had been born blind (John 9:1-7). After being questioned by the Pharisees and then cast out, Jesus spoke to him again and one of the things He said was, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind” (John 9:39).
He had made the blind man see both physically and spiritually. He cured his lack of eyesight and he revealed salvation to him. God’s word is the light that will bring spiritual guidance to those who are spiritually blind. However, it does not seem as light to many.
Many reject the light. Over seven hundred years prior to the birth of Christ, God told the prophet Isaiah, “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isa. 6:9-10).
Jesus used this passage from Isaiah when explaining about the use of parables (Matt. 13:13-15). Paul used the same passage when the Jews turned away from the truth and he decided to teach the Gentiles (Acts 28:25-28). Then, close to the end of the life of Christ on earth, he said, “Yet a little while is the light with you.
Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light” (John 12:35-36). John then records that they did not believe on him and quoted that same passage from the prophet Isaiah (John 12:37-40).
But, let’s get back to that statement of Jesus about some being made blind (John 9:39). Why is it that many are blind when the same light that shines for those that follow the Lord shines for them as well? Jesus answered that question when He said, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:19-20). The light of God’s word reveals the error of the ways of man. Pride stands strong in the way of he who is not walking in the light, urging him to stay his course rather than admit his guilt.
When Saul of Tarsus saw the light on the road to Damascus, he was stricken blind, but he quickly set sail on a course of obedience to whatever the Lord required of him that he too might have eternal life (Acts 9:3-18). The apostle Paul spoke of, “…them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (II Thess. 2:10). Both Jesus and Paul, when referring to the words of Isaiah said that, “…this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Matt. 13:15; Acts 28:27).
Notice it is the individual that is closing his or her own eyes and ears that they cannot see or hear the truth of God’s word. They hear the words that are spoken, but they do not understand it. It takes understanding for one to change from their long held views and opinions of what is pleasing to God to the actual word of God which is the light that guides one to a heavenly home. It is not he that is actively following what he thinks to be the light that will have eternal life, but he that is walking in the light (I John 1:7). Jesus said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46).
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]