Studies in John's Gospel -- Part 14
The Light of the World
By: A.J. Higgins, M.D.
Passage: John 9
Many sincere, well intentioned people look upon Christians simply as individuals who have overestimated the claims of Christ. With a benevolent condescending manner, they are willing to admit Christ to the higher echelon of historical figures. With little hesitation they would place Him among the great leaders and statesmen of history. They would never attempt to deny His impact upon the world today.
The Christian however finds great difficulty in assigning a niche in history to Christ. The very statements of the Bible seem to prohibit any such practice. If we are to understand words for what they are worth, and we must; if words were given to convey truth, and they were; how then can we hear the Lord Jesus say, "I am the light of the world" and suppose that He is claiming anything less than peerless value? The very expression from any living statesman would be ludicrous. Can you imagine a Churchill, Roosevelt, Kennedy or other western leader claiming such importance? No man can ever hope to be a light to more than a few followers, and that perhaps only for a brief time.
Here however is a man Who stepped into history from eternity and claims to be the "true light," John 1:9; "the light of the world," John 8:12, that assures men of the
Here is a man Who stepped into history from eternity and claims to be the "true light..."
light of life; the light that every man can follow for all time, John 12:46. There can be no neutralizing of His claims. He is either what He claimed to be or not.
In John 9, we encounter a blind man who receives his sight from the Lord Jesus Christ. As is often the case in our Bibles, God uses a miracle in the natural sphere to teach a deeper spiritual lesson. Make no mistake about the reality of the miracle. Its main purpose, however, resides in the spiritual lesson taught from it. The chapter closes with religious leaders questioning their spiritual sight. Bracketed between the natural and spiritual blindness is the clear bold statement of the Lord Jesus: "I am the light of the world" (vs. 5).
Consider the implication of His words. If He is the light of the world, then every other light is of value only to the degree that it reflects what He has said. It is not to a religion, church, philosophy, or movement that I can turn for truth, but a person who in His life has revealed reality. If He is the light of life, then true life can only be found in
True life can only be found in His life.
His light. Every life which shrinks from the light, cowering in selfishness or stubbornness, never knows true life.
The chapter closes with men who refused to own His light. The great question was their sin. They refused to own that before God they were sinners in need of redemption. They professed "perfect vision" in spiritual matters. Christ said, "you say ‘we see’, therefore your sin remains" (vs. 41).
All of us pride ourselves in insight, wisdom, a sense of what is right. Some may call it common sense. Ask a man about eternal life and the way to heaven and he will gladly tell you what he thinks. But this is just the problem. The Lord Jesus is telling us all that what we think is all of equal value. It is worth nothing. We must learn spiritual values from Him.
His light revealed the issue of sin. Men have coined many terms and names to avoid the stigma of the word sin. Christ dragged it from its concealed corner and brought it out into the open. His light revealed that men must own their helplessness before a Holy God, the justice of God’s judgment on their sin. His light revealed that only by His atoning death on Calvary can men be made right with God.
Every life not brought into His light is wasted. Every thought and opinion not subjected to His light is vain. Every hope for eternity not built upon His light is doomed to destruction.
May every reader soberly ponder the implication of the claims of Christ. They can be submitted to or refused, but they cannot be refuted.