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Lights in a Dark World

Photo Credit: Benjamin Joyce

September 29, 2021

Praying Friends,

Wednesdays come around so quickly. Thankfully, we have friends like you who are committed to praying for our prodigals and for revival. The Lord will bless you for it. Did you know that praying in faith, trusting in our God, and seeking the Father’s face are some of the ways we let our lights shine in a dark world?

The Lord Jesus is THE light of the world! He said it Himself. “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).

He is the author of light, the light from heaven, the eternal light, the light of life, the “true light, which gives light to everyone” (John 1:9). He is the ultimate light, and His presence dispels the darkness. That’s what He did in John 8, and we who reflect His light can learn from Him.

The religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus. They had caught her in the act of adultery. They put her right in the middle of all the people in the temple court and challenged Jesus. The law says she should be stoned. What do you say?

Without a word, He stooped and began to write in the dust with his finger. Rising, He said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). He bent down again and one by one from the oldest to the youngest they all left.

When He stood for the second time her accusers were all gone. They just disappeared! They vanished into thin air! As He looked into her fearful eyes, he graciously told her to start living a new life.

It was directly after this story that Jesus made the claim that He was THE light of the world. How can we learn from Him?

This may sound very basic, but it is true, people who are lights truly care about people. They care about people’s life stories, their present dilemmas, their feelings, their hurts, and their needs.

This is what Jesus did. It wasn’t sophisticated or complicated. There was a woman in distress. He saw her need. He recognized that they couldn’t care less. They had no thought of her well-being. All they were trying to do was trap Jesus. He chose to step in on her behalf. He gave her the support and aid that she needed.

Next, people who are lights reveal evil and sin. Light, by its very nature, reveals, exposes, and brings to light the hidden darkness. In this case, Jesus made one simple searching statement, “Whoever is without sin, let him be the first to throw the stone.” Wow, did that ever hit home — concise but extremely powerful! What He wrote on the ground is anyone's guess. Probably it was something personal to them. Whatever it was, one by one they all scattered.

The last detail of the story reminds us that people of light give hope to the hopeless. Light not only exposes, but also shows the way. In the absence of the critical, judging hypocrites, Jesus gave this woman the direction she needed to live in freedom. This is what grace does.

The way in which Jesus treated this woman and the whole situation is exactly how the true light of the world operates. His example in radiating light gives weight to His words when speaking to His disciples on the Mount. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

The emphatic nature of His words is striking — “You are the light of the world!” There is no question. If you have the life of God within, you are light in a dark world. We bring a different outlook, a different value system, a different purpose to life than what is in our world. The idea here is that the presence of light in darkness is something that is unmistakable.

Going back to the example of Jesus in John 8, we need to meet people where they are and show them that they are loved by God. How do we do this? Jesus said that when they see your good works they will give glory to the Father in heaven.

We sit with the lonely. We give a word of encouragement to the weary. We reach out in kindness to the poor and needy. We protect the vulnerable. We share the gospel with sinners, and on and on.

When it comes to exposing evil in the hearts of others, this requires the wisdom of God and humility. To be true light, you cannot be proud or arrogant. Sometimes it’s through a word of truth; other times it may be through the holy life we live.

Recently, I was given a gift card to The Keg Steakhouse, and when Rachel and I went out for supper, the pleasant server asked us if we were celebrating anything. Upon hearing that we were celebrating each other and the twenty-nine years we have been married, she expressed amazement at the length of our commitment (and how young we looked — pride alert). In our present age of loose commitments, when we choose to be faithful, it has an impact.

It was Charles Spurgeon who said, “The Bible is not the light of the world, it is the light of the Church. But the world does not read the Bible, the world reads Christians!” Every day we are being read by those with whom we come into contact. The light is not to be hidden under a basket, but placed where it can be seen, like a city on a hill.

Our purpose is not just to tell fellow humans the way to heaven, but to direct them to live wholesome lives of freedom through the grace of God. Jesus was able to tell the woman to go and live a new life, because He was on His way to the cross to provide that new life.

The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ enable us to give people hope. It’s wonderful to be saved from coming judgment, but it is equally great to show people the path of life in Christ today.

You are the light of the world!

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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