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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”— John 8:12 (NLT, emphasis added)
Have you ever tried navigating through an unfamiliar place in the dark? It’s not easy. In fact, it’s downright dangerous. Who knows what you could bump into, step on, or trip over.
There’s no denying that being in the dark, unsure of where you’re going and unable to find your way, is a scary, overwhelming, disheartening, and lonely place to be. But introduce a little bit of light, and suddenly the path becomes clearer. This is certainly true of physical darkness . . . but it also applies to spiritual darkness.
The sad reality is that this world is full of darkness. It’s been that way since the fall of Adam and Eve . . . and truthfully, it’s getting darker and darker every day. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the right path. In fact, we’ve reached a point where it seems most people can’t identify the difference between right and wrong. And on our own, we’re hopeless, lost, unable to find our way through this “domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13 HCSB), because according to the apostle Paul, we are the darkness (Ephesians 5:8 ESV).
But in today’s verse, Jesus provides us with some good news, a solution: “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” In the original language, light (phós) speaks of a radiance, a fiery brightness, a divine illumination designed to reveal and impart life. This is who Jesus is! He is the brilliant, inextinguishable, divine radiance of God shining through human form. He is our guide, lighting our way to everlasting life, illuminating our path to salvation. With Him, we never have to worry about the darkness that surrounds us. In Him, we can be confident, bold, and fully at peace, because we know our Lord has driven out the darkness.
This powerful illustration Jesus used to describe His nature is something that stuck with John because he used it a variety of times! In John 1:4 (HCSB), he says about Jesus, “Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.” And then in 1 John 1:7 (NIV), he states, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light . . . the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” It’s clear that when John reflected on Jesus, he saw a radiant and redemptive light that burned brighter than the sun, that lit the dimmest corners of his heart and shone in his eyes to illuminate even the darkest moments in life.
It’s also something that impacted Paul, as the first time he met Jesus “a light shone around him from heaven” (Acts 9:3 NKJV). And in 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT) he says, “For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” This is such a beautiful reality for us to live in, to know that the light of Christ is inside of us. But it’s also a call to action!
As those who were once full of darkness, we’ve experienced first-hand how the light of the world changes lives—giving us purpose, hope, and redemption. And in a world full of people who are lost, hurting, fallen, and searching, God wants to use us. He wants us to shine His light into the lives of the people around us. You may be asking, “How? How do I shine in a dark world?” By walking in His light and inviting others to follow you as you follow Christ!
DIG: Read John 8:12–20.
DISCOVER: What does it mean to you to shine the light of Jesus?
DISPLAY: Today, as you go about your day, be intentional about shining the light of Jesus through the way you speak and act, through your attitude, and through your interactions with others.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.