Roses need light just like us. In my front yard, I recently planted two rose bushes—a Scarlet Knight and a Tiffany. This part of the yard gets plenty of light. So naturally, these roses welcomed their new home. Within weeks they budded new petals. I was excited to see these roses blossom into vibrant red and pink tones.
I snapped a few photos on my iPhone. I bent down to smell the fragrance the Tiffany emanated. I was amazed to see these roses take root so fast. And I was relieved to see they didn’t die. They had, in essence, come to new life.
Without light, Scarlet Knights and Tiffanies would die. And without light, we would too. We need Light in order to live.
In the gospel of John, the image of light comes up almost immediately. Only four verses in, John writes, “In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind” (Jn 1:4 NET). The author goes on to describe how John the baptist “…came as a witness to testify about the light, so that everyone might believe through him” (Jn 1:7 NET). This was no ordinary light—it was the true light.
John goes on to say that during the feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood up and addressed a crowd about His identity. Some said He was the prophet and others said He was Christ. Some quickly intellectualized Jesus could not be the Christ because they argued He wasn’t a descendant of David and didn’t come from Bethlehem, but Galilee.
Jesus, lifted his head, and looked the crowd straight in the eyes. “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12 NET).
Jaws dropped. Sweat rolled off the brows of some. The crowd turned to each other to confirm what they just heard.
“Did He say he’s the light?”
“Yeah, that’s what I heard.”
One of the religious elites shot up and objected, “You testify about yourself; your testimony is not true!” (Jn 8:13 NET) The crowd started to rumble in agreement. Yeah, good point. Who’s He to tell us who He is. The crowd agreed that Jesus’ self-declaration was not satisfactory. He needed someone other than Himself to testify who He was. To them, Jesus could not state He was the light of the world who gives life.
In reflecting upon this narrative, we learn the crowd was blinded to who Jesus was. Their eyes were darkened to spiritual truth. They did not have the light of life. They were spiritually dead.
We, too, were spiritually dead at one point in our lives. Like Paul, we had scales over our eyes. We were blinded to spiritual truths. We did not know how to answer the question, “Who Is Jesus?” We did not see Jesus as the light who gives life. Instead, we sought life apart from Him. And as we went through life, we stumbled on a few thorns. Sexual immorality, impurity, depravity—ouch! Idolatry, sorcery, hostilities—ouch! Strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger—ouch! Selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions—ouch! Envying, murder, drunkenness, and carousing—ouch! (Gal 5:19-21 NET)
In His grace, God sent His Son into our world to give us life. He is the light of life—the light of the world. In Him we have forgiveness. We don’t need to stumble on painful thorns any longer. Instead, we can lay our heads upon fresh petals of grace and truth, which only the Son can give.
Scripture and/or notes quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org All rights reserved.