“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those living in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” - Isaiah 9:2
“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. . . The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” - John 1:4,9
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” - John 10:10
Throughout scripture, light and life are often intertwined, and inseparable from Jesus.
Jesus was born under an unusually bright star. Even before He breathed in a lung-full of earth’s air, Jesus was heralded by the light of a star, then by the light of a multitude of angels singing. The Light of the world had come.
John 1 (quoted above) poetically reminds us that Jesus was the Word at the formation of the world that brought LIFE and LIGHT into existence! All the world was life and light, darkness had not yet come. When Jesus came in human form His very life, His existence, brought light and new life to everyone.
You know those people who just glow? Who light up a room and make you feel seen? Or those people who exude peace and a calming light? You could just bask in their presence all day. Well, when Jesus walked the earth He was all that and so much more times ten thousand. Thanks to Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we can bask in this light and life every day, and should. It takes practice and discipline not to always approach God with transactional prayers, but to just sit in His presence, but it's so worth it. All the life and light is available to us now, because Jesus brought it with Him! It's truly sublime when we can learn to sit in Christ's presence and soak in His peace and life. It changes us.
The world is a dark place, given free will, we choose selfishness and evil time and time again. We may think the world today is worse than it’s ever been, and perhaps it is, but not because of new salacious deeds, or new depths of depravity and a lack moral integrity. The world that Jesus entered into was pervaded with darkness as well, more so I would argue, because He had not yet come to save souls, to bring light. Within the first two years of Jesus’ life, the king in power at the time ordered that all baby boys under two years of age be killed. And they were. (Matthew 2:16-18) Utter blackness.
Then came light. And life. Light and life would soon spread like a subversive cure, like a silent revolt against death and darkness, all throughout Israel during Jesus’ ministry. Changing forever the lives Jesus came into contact with.
Jesus is light. There is no darkness in Him. This is hard for us to imagine in our limited views of who God is, because we tend to filter our image of God through what we know and see around us. It’s so hard to imagine a Being so perfect and light-filled that there is no. darkness. Only light.
The same is true when Jesus says He is life, and He came so that we might have life abundantly. Living in a world surrounded by sickness, physical limitations, and death, it is nearly impossible for us to grasp what it means that Jesus is life. But the truth of it fills the gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry. He merely touched people and they were healed: people received sight, the ability to walk again, and were healed from incurable diseases like leprosy.
Pure light and life sang through every cell of Jesus’ body and is yet part of the very essence of Christ’s being. Jesus commanded death to flee from Lazarus, and Lazarus walked out of his own tomb. He took the hand of a dead girl and lovingly told her, “Little girl, arise,” as though He were a parent waking His beloved child from sleep. Jesus has the power to command death, because He is life.
In our suffering, we often wonder why God seems to intervene with His life-giving power only sometimes. I am with you, and I would highly recommend Pete Greig’s book, God on Mute, to help ease this confusion. It has blown my conception of who God is wide open.
The beautiful thing is, Jesus encouraged us to keep praying boldly, to keep approaching the Father, who loves us. (Matt. 7:7-11) The astounding thing is, Jesus offered His whole life, even His unity with God for a moment, in His death for us. Christ gave up His right to being wholly light and wholly life by sacrificing Himself so that we might have life more abundantly, so that we can truly live.
Take some time today, even if it's just two minutes, to sit silently in the life-giving presence of God. No agenda, no pressure on yourself to "do it right." Just sit in glory and light of Jesus.
How would your life change if you truly believed, not just knew in your head, that Jesus brought light and life into the world with Himself?
When you look around you during your day-to-day routine, through the hustle of Christmas season (that we're trying to slow) where do you see the light and life of Jesus playing out? Ask Him to help you see it.
When you look back on your life, where do you see the power of Jesus' light and life at play?
Feel free to share your experience and answers in the comments! I'd love to hear them!