Sunday – September 10, 2023
Word On Worship – Sunday – September 10, 2023
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles. At that same feast, the Jews performed a ceremony where they lit four huge candelabras or torches in the Court of the Women in the temple, commemorating the fact that the Lord had been a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night to protect and guide Israel in their wilderness wanderings for 40 years. That cloud appeared on the day when Israel left Egypt, standing as a barrier between them and Pharaoh’s armies on the night before they crossed the Red Sea. Then as it went with them in that wilderness, it was a graphic symbol of the fact that the Lord God was with His people.
In the Old Testament, the Jews recognized the pillar and the cloud as the Lord (Exodus 13 & 14). Furthermore, light is often used as a metaphor for God. Psalm 27:1 proclaims, “The Lord is my light and my salvation ….” In a prophecy about Jesus Christ, Isaiah 9:2 predicts, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” In Isaiah 42:6, the Lord tells His Servant, the Messiah, that He has appointed Him to be “a light to the nations” (or, “world,” in John 8:12).
As I consider Jesus as the “Light of the world,” I am reminded of the conversion of Saul as described three times in the Book of Acts. Saul, who would become Paul, was the personification of the unbelieving Jews we find in John’. He thought he was serving God as he persecuted Christians, just as the Pharisees thought they were serving God by persecuting Jesus. Paul was saved when our Lord intercepted him on a mission to arrest more Christians. Saul was blinded by the “light” of the glory of the resurrected Jesus, whom he persecuted as he persecuted the church of our Lord. That “light” blinded Saul for three days. It was after this three-day period of blindness that Ananias came to him with the gospel, and Saul was saved.
Our text reminds us that while Saul’s conversion was extraordinary in some ways, it is typical in others. We, like Paul, are blinded by our own sin. We oppose God, we oppose Jesus Christ, we oppose the people of God because we do not like the light; we do not want the light. And all the while we are deceived into believing that we’re doing the right thing. If it were not for God’s “enlightening” us, for His seeking us out, for Him opening our blind eyes, we would never see. If you have come to see Jesus as your Savior, remember that it was He who found you, He who gave sight to your spiritually blind eyes.