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The Light of Life

John 1:4-5

"In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."

Light is closely related to our daily life. We are so used to the light that we take it for granted when we enjoy it every day. Perhaps you have never thought about it, what would it happen if all the light suddenly disappeared?

Have you ever had such an experience that you were thrown into the total darkness?

When I was a very little boy, one night my parents and my older brothers all went to a storytelling party, which was very rare in a poor village in China back then. I fell asleep in the evening, my parents thought that I might continue to sleep till next morning, so they left me, a three- or four-years old boy, alone at home and locked me in the house.

Unfortunately, I woke up during the night, it was an utter darkness in the house, I fumbled back and forth and finally realized that no one was at home. An extreme panic hit my heart, I was so scared that I tried to find the door and get out of the house. But I could see nothing, I climbed to the opposite direction of the door and held a table leg with both of my hands and thought it was the door shaft. I was pulling it very hard but couldn’t move it anyway. Finally, I gave up, with both of my hands holding the table leg I cried and cried bitterly, till my parents came home in the late night. I was really terrified, that horrible memory is hidden deep in my heart until today, I still feel shudder when it comes up to my heart.

One more time, our Bible study group once held a retreat in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. My wife and I drove back in the Saturday night for the next day’s Sunday worship in our church. I used my cell phone as a GPS. It led us to the shortest route, it was not high way bur a narrow road through the woods. When we drove through the long dark woods of the Pennsylvania countryside, although I was not as frightened as what I had experienced in my childhood, it was still a bit scary, so I looked forward to seeing any lights coming over, it was very comforting when we occasionally saw some light in the houses of the roadside residents.

If you have similar experience, if you think it is horrible in the total darkness, know for sure that it is much more terrible in the hell, for the darkness is eternally everlasting there. So, try all your efforts to flee from it.

Now I am going to share with you the light, the true light that will lead you to the eternal bright heavenly home.

I. The definition of Light?

Let me first borrow a simple scientific definition of the light:

Light is an electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength in a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is an observable and measurable energy with its traveling speed of 300000 kilometers per second.

When we talk about the light, we usually refer to the visible light.

Visible light is the portion of the spectrum that can be perceived by the human eyes, it is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nanometers (nm).

II. The function of light

Light plays an important role in human daily life.

A. Illumination

The most basic function of light is illumination. When you enter a dark room, you can't use a broom, hammer, detergent or any other method to get rid of the darkness, the only way you can do is to turn on the power switch, when the bulb is lightened, the darkness will disappear immediately, and the room is full of light.

During the Vietnam War, an American fighter pilot received an order in the midnight to fly to the designated location, and the helicopter flew over the jungle during the dark night. When the helicopter was about to land in the jungle, it was total dark on the ground. The plane must be accurately landed at the predetermined position, it should be no five-foot error in the middle of the jungle, otherwise the aircraft will be crashed. The pilot radioed the ground officer that he had to use something lightening to show the specific location, but the ground officer did not have any equipment. Finally, he found a zippo lighter, he lighted it and held it up and guided the pilot to accurately land the helicopter on the ground in the jungle. You see, that very small zippo lighter was so crucial in the dark night.

B. Visual Formation

When light waves hit our retina, the retinal cells convert light signals into neural signals, which in turn are transmitted to the brain's visual center to produce images, allowing us to see the surrounding materials, colors, forms, etc., so that we can appreciate and enjoy the colorful world God created. You see, where there is no light, there is no sight.

The construction of the human eye is such a complexity and the visual formation is a very complicated process. It is no wonder that Darwin, the originator of evolution, said that he would tremble when he thought of the human eyes.

Few people are grateful for normal vision. There is a short video "Try not to cry," some people with color blindness or weakness, when someone handed them a pair of special glasses so that they can see the things and colors around them, almost all those people were crying excitedly without exception.

C. Photosynthesis

Plants can use some very simple and most abundant raw materials such as carbon dioxide and water to convert light energy into chemical energy through a process so called photosynthesis, it produces a lot of sugar or glucose stored in grain, fruits and vegetables, therefore produces abundant food for the world populations. So, you can say that what you eat every day is light. How we human beings should be grateful to our heavenly Father for this!

D. Direction of Guidance

God created daylight, moonlight, and starlight to give us direction of guidance. The Great Bear is usually the coordinates of the direction at night, so that we don't get lost or fall. Nowadays, people prepare street lights or road lights to direct people in the city or in the countryside.

E. Energy supply

The sun is like a huge fireball hanging in the sky, providing the inexhaustible light, heat and energy for the earth. If the energy that the sun sends to the earth is Converted into electricity, it was estimated that mankind should pay about $160 trillion electricity bill every day to the sun (actually to God who created the sun). The current US national debt is about 20 trillion US Dollars, and the solar power generation in just a few hours is much more than enough to pay off the US national debts. When you feel cold in the winter time, as long as you walk out and stand under the sunshine, you immediately feel a warmth.

F. Healing function

Light has healing powers, which is widely recognized. People who suffer from calcium deficiency can cause Chondrosis or rickets, but if you increase your outdoor activity under the sun, your body will use the cholesterol to automatically produce vitamin D, which will increase your calcium absorption. At the same time, daylight is especially important for people's mental health. Due to the shorter time of sunshine, Cornell University has many students with depression, and the suicide rate in this school is also significantly higher than other universities. Therefore, the school authority has put huge nets in the second floor and higher of each building to prevent people from committing suicide. Washington State, USA, has become a suicide ground because of the rainy weather and the beautiful surroundings. It can be seen that the sunshine has a lot to do with people's mood and mental health.

With so many functions, it is no wonder that God first created light on the first day of creation when God created the heavens and the earth.

“And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.” (Gen 1:3)

III. The Light and the Life

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of man.” (John 1:4).

Compare the structure of about 1:1 with about 1:4:

Καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. And the Word was God. (John 1:1)

Καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς · And that Life was the Light. (John 1:4)

John 1:1, "The Word was God." This verse "God" has no definite article, and there is a definite article in front of the Word, so this verse can only be translated as "And the Word was God". It cannot be translated as "God was the Word"; because the Father and the Holy Spirit are not the Son of God the "Word.”

But the words "life" and "light" in John 1:4 both have definite articles in front of them, so from the grammatical point of view, the positions of the words "life" and "light" can be placed interchangeably, that is, "life" is "Light," and "light" is "life."

Therefore, the Life is in Jesus Christ, this life is the light of man! Jesus Christ is both life and light. This theme is repeated again and again in the Gospel of John.

In fact, the Old Testament has long described the same thing: "For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light." (Psalm 36:9)

Therefore, the "Word" who is the origin of life is Jesus Christ, and He is also the light of life.

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

A. Illumination

The Lord Jesus said, "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness."

Lord Jesus as the Light, He penetrates and compels the spiritual darkness, so that people will not stay in the darkness but in the light.

B. Spiritual sight

The Lord Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."(John 9:39)

In the gospel of John, the author emphasizes more on the spiritual sight instead of physical sight, “the blind will see” refers to the physical born blind mand now is able to see; “those who see will become blind,” refers to those pharisees who are spiritually blind.

In the hymn “Amazing Grace” written by John Newton, he said: “I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see.” Apparently, it also points to the spiritual seeing.

C. The Bread of life

The light produces food for men through the process of photosynthesis, but Lord Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)

D. Guidance

The Lord Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never Walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Ps 119:105)

E. Provisions

The Lord Jesus “(is) Sustaining all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3)

"He has not left Himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." (Acts 14:17)

F. Healing Power

The Lord Jesus is the great heavenly Physician. He healed a lot of sickness while He was in the world. He made the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the dumb talking, the lame walking, the leprosy cleansing, and the dead raised to life...

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.”(Matt 9:35)

"But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings." (Mal. 4:2)

Therefore, John said, “The light (Jesus Christ) is the true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." (John 1:9)

The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the true light, and He is the essence of light. Even the nature of light being both wave and particle, that is, the wave-particle duality of light, is also a true reflection in Jesus Christ: He is both the true God and the perfect man, the God-man duality of Jesus Christ.

IV. The Light and darkness

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

(Darkness is the absence of Light. )

The darkness is mentioned here. What is interesting is that science does not define darkness: it is generally accepted that darkness is the absence of Light.

There are two different translations for this verse:

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness does not receive it." (John 1:5) (CUV)

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.” (John 1:5) (CNV)

“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”(John 1:5)(NKJV)

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”(John 1:5)(ESV)

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”(John 1:5 NIV original)

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”(John 1:5 NIV revised)

“This verse is a masterpiece of planned ambiguity.” (D. A. Carson)

“καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.”(John 1:5)

When Jesus Christ was born, Herod slaughtered Bethlehem’s boys two-year-old and under; (Matthew 2:16); when Jesus Christ started His ministry, Satan tempted Him three times trying to destroy Him (Matthew 4:1-11); Satan captured the men’s heart, tempting people to indulge in the lust and sin (Eph. 2:1-3); the devil “blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,”(2 Cor. 4:4), etc., but no matter how hard the devil tried, nothing can stop the light of Christ from penetrating and compelling the darkness.

On the other hand, when the true light of Christ comes to this dark world, the vast majority of people, their minds are blinded by the devil of the world, who cannot understand, comprehend, and accept the true light of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John, there is a large amount of dialogue between Jesus Christ and the people and even including the disciples, I call them “spirit vs flesh” conversations. You will notice that while Christ is talking about heavenly things, the audience are talking about the earthly things; when Christ is talking about spiritual things, and the peoples are talking about worldly things. So the Bible says, “No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit.”(1 Cor12:3)

In the beginning was the Word, and all things were made through Him. He not only created the physical light as a vital elements for sustaining man’s physical life, He also came as the only true light to shine and to illuminate in the darkness of the world, yet the majority of the people in the world is unable to perceive and accept the light of life because of their sin, ignorance, stubbornness, and pride, they hate and resist the true light because of their love of darkness.

In a spiritual realm---

The light represents the presence of God, holiness, life, truth, hope, joy, happiness, freedom, eternal life, etc.

Darkness represents Satan's rule, representing evil, death, lie, despair, pain, suffer, slavery, and hell.

“ (This is)to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘…the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.’”

(“A light for revelation to the Gentiles.”)

“I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven, to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

The Lord Jesus is the true light. On the one hand, He points out the sin and darkness of the human heart; on the other hand, He also reveals the holiness and glory of God.

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.”

“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made Him known.”

“I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

People in the dark have an instinct to seek light.

Socrates ignited "the light of reason” in ancient Greece, full of idols and superstitions;

Confucius ignited the "ethical light" during the war and chaos in the Spring and Autumn Period;

Sakyamuni ignited the "religious light" for those who were struggling in the sorrow and suffer.

(What is more, even Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.)

The devil uses the lusts of the world to draw the numerous people to flutter to the lust, greed, pleasure, fame, fortune, money, wealth, power, success, and so on, that they blindly neglect the lake of fire.

But they are not true light, only the Lord Jesus Christ, He is the true light that illuminates the world, drives away the darkness, and destroys the sting death!

“Then Jesus told them, ‘You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.’”

Praise the Lord


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