Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, ESV)
The pre-dawn air is cool as the first golfers arrive on the practice range long before their 7 am tee times. Darkness reigns as the mowers hum in the distance. A diesel generator kicks on and the light towers scatter the startled shadows. The best spot is as close to a tower as possible, where a narrow path of dim light pierces the darkness out ahead of it.
The good news of the gospel is that Christ’s light is always there, always shining, always waiting.This is the scene the majority of golf fans never witness—the challenging hour ahead of the first tee times where professionals do their best to wake up their sleeping bodies… in the dark. By the time you are nestled in your recliner to watch the afternoon telecast, these golfers have already posted a score for the day. I have many memories of how difficult it was to prepare to play on these dark, crisp mornings. The light towers were helpful, but never adequate.
The light that illuminated the temple and homes that Jesus knew was not the artificial light we have access to with the flip of a switch or generator. It was the flame of a candle (lamp). Candles take time to light and the flames emit a gentle, dim light that only penetrates the darkness close by. If you wanted more light, you needed to light more candles or draw closer to the already lit one. If you stayed further away from the flame, you would be consumed by the shadows of darkness.
The Greek word John used for light Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world,” is phos. It has several meanings: the light, anything emitting light, brightness; these are the obvious. I also found that it can be translated to this: God is light because light has the extremely delicate, subtle, pure, brilliant quality. I love this because doesn’t Jesus, the light of the world, embody all of these same qualities?
Jesus’ light is like the light tower on the practice range in that we must choose to draw near to it in order to glean its light. It is not like the light tower in that Jesus’ light is pure and brilliant, more adequate than anything ever created. And his light illuminates not only our path, but our hearts as well. The good news of the gospel is that his light is always there, always shining, always waiting. When we choose to stay at a distance from this light, it is our eyes that go dim, not his.
As winter returns to its slumber and a new spring begins to blossom, it is my prayer that our hearts will be [re]awakened to the light of the world—Jesus, our Lord and Savior—who beckons us out of the darkness and longs for us to draw near to him. As we sit close to his light, we in turn will be a conduit of light to others.
March 30, 2017
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