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Light of the World


Philosopher J. P. Moreland described how Disneyland in California has an entire work crew assigned to do nothing but light bulbs. They keep a record of the park’s thousands of light bulbs, and replace them when they reach 80 percent life expectancy. Are they successful? Never once has he seen a burned-out light there!

Light of the World is one of the most well-known names for Christ. It’s an image associated with knowledge, truth, righteousness, hope, and life. As Isaiah prophesied, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isa. 9:2; see also John 1:4). Today begins our study’s third section: looking at Christ’s attributes in relationship with His people.

When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (v. 12), the Pharisees immediately challenged Him (vv. 13–18). By saying His testimony wasn’t valid, they were essentially accusing Him of lying and pride. Jesus responded that He and the Father together made two witnesses and that the Pharisees were ignorant of His divine identity and origins.

Offended, the Pharisees made a second challenge (v. 19): “Where is your father?” Ironically, they proved their own ignorance, but it might also have been intended as an insult about the circumstances of His birth. If so, Jesus disregarded the insult, instead asserting that to know Him was to know the Father. For the religious leaders of Israel not to understand this was quite an indictment (John 3:19)!

As followers of Christ, we are to be “the light of the world” ourselves (Matt. 5:14) by reflecting His light. How? We are to “walk in the light” and live holy lives (1 John 1:5–7).

Apply the Word

To illustrate the importance of light, try spending part of your devotional time or small group meeting in a dark room, then light only one candle or a flashlight. Notice how a single light makes an enormous difference! The good news is we don’t have to generate our own light, we are called to reflect Christ’s light in a dark world.

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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