Jesus, Light of the World

From Daniel chapter 10:

On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

From Revelation chapter 1:

I saw someone among the lampstands who was “like a Son of Man.” He was dressed in a long robe. He had a gold band around his chest.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like bronze that glows hot in a furnace. His voice was like the noise of flooding water.

In those passages, the man described by Daniel and John was none other than Jesus Christ. Though their lives were separated by hundreds of years, the descriptions of the “man” they saw in their visions  were, for all intents and purposes, identical, and are consistent with Ezekiel’s description of a man who “looked like fire from the waist down and like glowing hot metal from the waist up”.  (Ezekiel 8:2-3)

Daniel said His face was like lightning. John said His head and hair were “white like wool, as white as snow.” Both men noted that His eyes were like flames of fire. In their accounts of the Transfiguration (presumably as told to them by Peter, James and John), the gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke gave these descriptions of Jesus’ appearance: “His face became as bright as the sun.”“His clothes were dazzling white as no one on earth could bleach them.” – “ Apparently, in His glory, Jesus’ physical appearance is so intensely bright and so radiant that it almost defies description.

So hold that thought and that imagery in your mind and let me ask you this: Have you ever looked at a bright light and then looked away and noticed how everything goes dark for a few moments? That’s the effect of the light acting on the pupils of your eyes. It’s the same thing that happens when you walk into your house on a bright sunny day. The house looks dark. It takes your eyes a little while to adjust.

Jesus said in John chapter 8, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Light overcomes darkness, never the other way around. As John wrote, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

In His glory, Jesus’s physical appearance is intensely bright. But when He said, “I am the light of the world.”, he wasn’t just talking about his physical appearance. He was declaring Himself to be the spiritual light for those who are trapped in the darkness of sin and He affirms this for us in the 12th chapter of John in verse 46: I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

It’s easy for us to hide from another human being in darkness. Not so with Christ. We can’t hide from Him. We can’t hide our sins from Him. We can’t hide our guilt. We might try. Some may even prefer the darkness as Jesus said in his conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:  Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear their deeds will be exposed.

Biblically speaking then, the words light and truth are synonymous: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. In that paragraph from his letter to the Ephesians, not only did Paul proclaim sin to be darkness, he also proclaimed that sin causes us to become darkness. He did not say “You once lived in darkness.” He said “You were darkness.” It makes perfect sense because the opposite of light is darkness, and the opposite of truth is falsehood, deceit, lies. You don’t just practice it, Paul exclaimed, you become it.

But in Christ, darkness is overcome. Again, Paul proclaimed to the Ephesians, “…now you are light.” You don’t just practice being a Christian, you become one. That’s the essence of what Paul was saying. It was what Jesus preached. He said to the crowd in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the light of the world.” Following Christ is not something you do, it’s who you are. That’s something worth remembering as we watch what’s going on in our culture. The world seems to be growing darker every day, but remember this; no matter how dark it gets, light always overcomes darkness. Or as one pastor put it, “It’s always the darkest just before the dawn.” Revelation 21:23 tells us, “The city (the new Jerusalem) will need neither the sun or the light of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” Jesus will come again in glory. And when all is said and done, there will be no darkness ever again.