I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
When in darkness men are prone to stumble and grope, injuring themselves and others. Without spiritual light, men deal with their self-created conflicts as best they know how. The result includes violence, disease, divorce, suicide, despair, debt, etc. Like Jeremiah they are eventually forced to confess, “Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23).
THE ANCIENTS LOOKED FOR LIGHT
God allowed the world to see the futility of its own devices (Psalms 33:10). Honest men longed for guidance. The Greek philosopher Plato (427-347 BC) said, “We must, of necessity, wait till someone from Him who cares for us shall come and instruct us how we ought to behave toward men . . . It is necessary that a lawgiver should be sent from heaven to instruct us. This lawgiver must be more than man that he may teach is the things man cannot know by his own nature.” (REPUBLIC, Books IV and VI).
Jewish men also hoped for light. To a groping generation, Isaiah (734 BC) predicted one day there would be a great light walking in darkness (Isaiah 9:2). Malachi (444 BC) foretold the coming of the “Sun of Righteousness who would have healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2). Zechariah the priest (4 BC) by the Spirit said that his own son, John the Baptist, would blaze the trail for the one to bring light (Luke 1:79).
JESUS IS THE LIGHT
When Jesus arrived in His ministry all could see that he was a great light (Matthew 4:16; John 1:9). On several occasions He freely confessed, “I am the light of the world.” Once after making this claim, he took a clay spit ball and rubbed it in a blind man’s eyes. After this man washed, he saw physical light for the first time (John 9:5-7).
On the Sunday before His death Jesus said, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light . . . believe in the light that you may be children of light.” (John 12:35-36). Just as Jesus had opened the blind man’s eyes, he was not proposing to do the same for those who spiritual eyes were closed. Because of the darkness of the hostile audience, Jesus was forced to hide himself. Within five days the forces of darkness succeeded in extinguishing his life (Luke 22:53).
OUR GENERATION NEEDS LIGHT
Jesus no longer inhabits one physical body but rather lives in millions of bodies (Ephesians 3:17). Through faithful, obedient Christians, Jesus shines in a pessimistic unbelieving world (Philippians 2:15). Since light and darkness remained incompatible, we must expect the same hostility Jesus received.
In the last few decades, the hostile attacks upon the Scriptures have been unprecedented in America. Legislators fabricate mischief by legal statutes (Psalms 94:20) which have gradually eroded those foundations upon which our country was established. It is now fashionable to believe in evolution, to have been responsible for several abortions, to have been engaged in homosexual or adulterous relationships-the list could continue ad nauseum. The hostility of the media and the courts toward Christianity grows daily. Why?
Jesus said a covered light and flavorless salt both illustrate mediocre Christianity. When salt loses its flavor two things occur (Matthew 5:13). First, it is cast down as a cheap, meaningless item. Millions have abandoned liberal denominations for cults or outright atheism in the last few years. They have cast down what they perceive to be Christianity. Secondly, it is trodden under men’s feet. The word trodden is a military word which in the New Testament always describes an area of conflict. In the past, God allows spiritually half committed Jews to be oppressed (cf Deuteronomy 28; Judges 2). The trodding down of Christianity today will continue until we restore the true form of godliness along with its inward power (2 Timothy 3:5).
UNCOVER YOUR LIGHT!
The solution? We must uncover the Light and put the flavor back in the salt. How?
1. By living our lives worthy of the gospel of Christ.
2. By consulting with God and His Word when we make decisions and seek to do His will.
3. By resuming the character training of our children which most parents have abdicated to public schoolteachers. Ephesians 6:4 emphasizes that parents are to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Not schoolteachers. In a secular society the propagation of morals should not devolve to society’s dictates. God tells us what is right and what is wrong. Society justifies death and killing. We glorify sin. God sent his Son to pay the sin debt. God
4. By having men resume the spiritual leadership of the family. Men must be an example of the spiritual maturity they desire for their family.
5. By having men rearrange their priorities to meet the needs of their wife and children. (1 Timothy 5:18).
6. By having our minds and homes cleansed of things which cause lusts and destructive habits.
7. By work to keep our consciences clear toward God and man (Acts 24:16). And by having a forgiving spirit which keeps us from being bitter.
8. By respecting the human authorities which God has placed over us whether it be parents, boss, policeman, elders . . .
Man’s way leads to self-destruction even though he may be unaware of the danger (Proverbs 14:12). God’s way gives us light and leads to the abundant life for now and for eternity.
Doug Couch, via the Messenger, Karns church of Christ 8/28/1988