In our last study, we learned that Jesus is the Light and that God sent a special witness to testify to the Light. His name was John the Baptist. Now, in this study, we focus on the Light Himself.
John 1:9 continues, “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” Who is John referring to when he says, “The True Light?” He is talking about Jesus the Word of God in whom, verse 4 says, “is life and whose life is the light of men.” John heard that from Jesus’ own lips when He said in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the World. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the Light of Life.” That is either the most blasphemous statement ever made or a source of great hope for everyone.
Why is that such an audacious claim? Because of the Old Testament background. For example, Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” That is something on which all the prophets agreed. Jehovah is the One True Light of the World. So how can John say that Jesus is the One True Light and how could Jesus dare to say it about Himself unless it’s true—that He and the Father are One God, just as two become one flesh in marriage? There’s really no alternative. As C.S. Lewis put it, either Jesus was a liar inspired by the devil, a lunatic who thought He was God but wasn’t, or He is who He claimed to be—my Lord, my Light, and my Great Salvation!
Last week we saw two things the Light does for us. 1) It gives us power, for that’s what light is. Light is energy. Physicists define it as radiant, electromagnetic, and corpuscular energy traveling in waves at 186,000 miles per second, stimulating our retinas, and giving us the power to see. The fact that it’s corpuscular means it is a quantum phenomenon and that the source of its power is unknown to modern science. But not to us! We know who it is. It isn’t a thing. It is a Person—the Lord Jesus Christ who created all things by the Word of His power and lives to give new life to everyone who believes in Him. Lest you doubt that, John is going to prove it again and again in this Gospel.
In it, we’ll see Jesus, who the Bible calls the wisdom and power of God, turning water to wine, creating new eyes for a blind man, creating new limbs for a lame man, calming a storm, feeding 5,000 with two loaves of bread, and raising His friend Lazarus from the dead. And the best news of all is this: He hasn’t lost a watt of energy since then! So here’s what you do. Think of one thing you know God wants to do in your life, something you could never do for yourself, and start asking Him to do it for you out of His goodness and grace. And send us a note to tell us how He answered you. Let’s see how many prayers He answers for us over the course of our studies!
2) It reveals the truth to us. That’s why John calls Jesus the True Light. The word is aleithenos referring to that which is genuine and pure. John is contrasting it with all the false sources of light in the world. Did you know, for example, that the Bible says that Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light in his efforts to lead you astray? Which means you can’t trust your own reasoning powers to ferret out the truth about God. The only thing you can trust is the Word of God which isn’t just a written thing; John says the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, so we’d no longer have any confusion as to what God is like. That’s his point later in verse 18: “No one has seen God at any time; they only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him.”
So Jesus you can trust—not only what He says about God but also what He says about you. That’s why people avoid Him. Have you noticed that? You can talk to people about God or church but the moment you mention Jesus, they get nervous. Why? Because He’s so bright! Like the stark lights of an Operating Room, He exposes our every spiritual blemish, and that’s embarrassing.
It isn’t that they’re unaware of the Light. Verse 9 says the True Light enlightens every person who comes into the world. If you doubt that, ask a little child, “Do you believe in God?” She’ll say without hesitation, “Of course I do, silly! Don’t you? How can you not?” He became a man at Bethlehem but verse 10 is clear. He’s been in the world from its inception—making it, maintaining it, meeting His creatures’ needs. Even the sparrows know that! Romans 1:19 says, “What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
You see, it isn’t that they don’t know about God. It’s that once sin gets ahold of us, we hide from Him and stop acknowledging Him as God. That’s what “know” means in verse 10. The word is ginosko meaning to acknowledge someone.
Jesus explained it in John 3:19. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness (sin, Satan, and all he offers) rather than the Light.” Why! “Because,” He adds, “their deeds are evil! For example, I used to have quite a problem with anger. My family knew it. You can’t hide these things from your family. But do you think I let anybody else know about it, so I could get help for it? Of course not! It’s embarrassing to admit you have a problem with your temper, your tongue, your appetite, your spending, or any other sins of the flesh. That’s why Rick Warren says, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.”
So don’t hide from Him a moment longer. Step into the Light and let Doctor Jesus treat you, and He’ll heal you of that thing forever! I know because He did it for me. He also has the best bedside manner of any doctor in the world.
The witness was John. The Light is Jesus. Tomorrow we’ll examine one more thing in this passage – the first responders.