Jesus Light of the World

Jesus, the Light of the World


Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 (NLT2)


There is something about Jesus that just gets to the point.  Life, eternal, and abundant life, is available only through the Creator.  People have been contacted by the one who made all things, and without him, nothing that exists would have been made.  He has absolute knowledge about what gives life and offers a path to life, which is following him.  People walk in darkness.  Darkness is the state of existence. 


“Whoa,” someone may say, “they might walk in darkness, but not me, not me.”  A fish lives in water, surrounded by it, suspended in it, breathing it in, but not conscious that the liquid realm in which it exists is anything other than a normal way of life for all things.  People without the light of Christ live in darkness, which is to them, normal, not recognizing there is so much more. 


Jesus is the light of the world and provides a way out of darkness into life.  If Jesus’ way leads to life, then walking in darkness leads to stumbling around, injury, and death. 


A choice is given to people to follow Jesus if they want to.  Walking in darkness is not an option for those not following Jesus.  To whatever degree, people are not following Jesus; they are walking in darkness. 


Consider the weight of that reality.  If the leaders of your government determine things that impact your life and they are not following Jesus, then they are walking in darkness.  If the people running your financial institution are not walking with Jesus, they are walking in darkness.  When your pharmacist fills prescriptions for you and is not following Jesus, they are walking in darkness.  The people making decisions, writing books, reporting the news, producing music, and movies that are not following Jesus are walking in darkness.   Can they see better than you in the dark?  No, of course not, darkness takes away people’s ability to discern wisely, to read the labels, to see where to go. 


Life is found in Jesus, the light of the world.  Follow him.  Pray for those in darkness to see the light. 



Grace and Truth in Action-John 8

Grace And Truth in Action


And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NASB)


Grace and truth provide a beautiful dance, a harmony of motive and motion.  Grace applied in human norms without truth can be an extreme of acceptance and affirmation of every sort, even evil.  Truth apart from God’s guidance and grace can become harsh and tyrannical. God’s grace and truth fill and flow through Jesus, the Word who became flesh.  Observing him in action, in his methods, and in his words, grace and truth bring life to those who are around him.  An occasion of Jesus’ demonstrating grace and truth is in the situation with the woman caught in adultery. 


Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.

As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”

Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:2-11 (NLT2)


Jesus didn’t condemn the woman, but he didn’t affirm her actions either.  Sin is sin.  The Jewish religious leaders were sinning and used her and her sin to set a trap for Jesus in front of the people listening to him teach.  His approach did not require a loud exchange, or demands, or accusations, or even dueling Scripture verses.  It was grace and truth on display. 


How have you seen sin and sinners dealt with in the church?

How have you approached those who have violated sacred rules?

How would you like Jesus to deal with you and your sin?

How can you thank God for Jesus’ example?


Speaking Favorably of Jesus

Speaking Favorably of Jesus


Speaking favorably of Jesus in some contexts can be dangerous.  For those who speak favorably of Jesus among Fulani Herdsmen of Nigeria or the Taliban of Afghanistan, it can lead to death.  In the first century, as Jesus walked among the people, some spoke well of him, and others did not. 

The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders. John 7:11-13 (NLT2)


The man, Christ Jesus, without sin, the Son of God, was perceived as a fraud who deceives people.  Consider the depth of discernment functioning in those who said such things.  They are with us still, offering their skepticism as intelligence, and as utterly wrong as were their predecessors millennia ago.  During the Second World War, the BBC had C.S. Lewis present a series of talks over the radio on Christianity.  The content was later made into a book called Mere Christianity.  He, in that mid-Twentieth Century time of tragedy, addressed people’s mistaken views of Jesus. 


I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic– on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg– or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”


We may agree with Lewis that Jesus is Lord and God, but will we risk saying something favorable about him?  We may strongly disagree with those who diminish or demonize Jesus, but will we boldly say something favorable about him in public, at work, at a family gathering, or even at church?  If asked in a church meeting even after experiencing Jesus in personal and powerful ways, would you say something about Jesus? 


Some people struggle.  It is too much, far too much, for them to go beyond what they consider safe limits to say something favorable about Jesus.  But who should say something about him, those who reject him or those who rejoice in him?  If Jesus has done something for you, is doing something now, and you expect he will be doing something in the future, why not say something favorable about him?  If not you, who?  If not now, when? 


Think about Jesus, who he is, what he has done, is doing, and will do.  What favorable characteristics or works came to mind? 

How is Jesus impacting your life today?

When you have an opportunity today, will you say something favorable about Jesus? 



The Importance of Boundaries in Accomplishing God’s Will


Jesus says, “Come, follow me.”  In one phrase, he has set in motion many boundaries for his followers.  If a person follows Jesus, he is not following someone or something else.  If others come along saying, “Follow me,” the answer is, no, because the direction is set, and there is a natural boundary to protect the relationship.  The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, which again creates boundaries.  If a person loves the world, they are not loving God.  Loving the world indicates a person has crossed over boundaries and broken the relationship with God. 


Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 1 John 2:15-16 (NLT2)


Jesus shows his commitment to his Father and to accomplishing his will by exercising boundaries.  He does this when his brothers try to get him to go to Jerusalem for a festival, and he doesn’t go with them. 


“You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”  For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.”

After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee. But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. John 7:4-10 (NLT2)


Jesus’ brothers assumed Jesus would want to be a celebrity at the festival, but that was not the point of Jesus’ life, ministry, or the festival.  They had it all perfectly wrong.  Jesus sent them on their way, which would provide a diversion for those searching for him to do him harm.  He was able to come in the back door and appear when the time was right. 


Many times, those who want to do God’s will do some of what God has directed, but not all of it because they include other influences.  They listen to the whims and wishes of others which may conflict with God’s will at that time, plus there are feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, leading a person to want the acceptance of other people.  This is not including the dark influence of the evil one who whispers doubts and other directions. 


Jesus stays the course.  He loves God the Father, listens to him, and he does not allow otherworldly influences to get him off course.  He stays the course not with harshness or meanness toward people but because he loves them and his faithfulness and determination lead to the salvation of the world.  Keeping proper boundaries is important for accomplishing God’s will. 


Do you know God’s will in some area, and you have not maintained proper boundaries in that area?  What was the result?

Have you violated God-given boundaries, which seemed harsh to you, or because you wanted to please someone?

As a follower of Christ, what boundaries are necessary for you to maintain?



Do I Follow My Feelings or God?

Do I Follow My Feelings or God?

Feelings are primal, close, familiar, and a force.  If you like chocolate cake and there is an opportunity for a slice of that chocolatey goodness, your feelings will give you a nod to get it.  In John chapter seven Jesus is presented with a decision to go with his feelings or with God.  You may have decisions like that to make at times too.  Let’s see what Jesus does. 

The scene is an invitation to go with his brothers to Jerusalem to the big Fall Festival of Tabernacles.  The festival would be something Jesus likes and it is in Jerusalem with lots of celebrating and worship at the Temple.  He could go with his brothers like they did as kids.  The Torah says the men of Israel are to attend three festivals each year and this is one of them. Jesus could justify going with his brothers because he needs to spend more time with them and they invited him.  Jesus could feel it would be the right thing to go to the festival because of religious obligation and it is fun.  Jesus has to keep in mind God’s plan for him.  He must choose between his feelings and God.  He chooses God’s plan. 

After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles!  You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”  For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee. John 7:1-9 (NLT2)

Jesus’ walk with God the Father required awareness of priorities and overcoming personal feelings for what is greater.  In Luke, Jesus speaks to the feelings about family and being his disciple. 

A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,  “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-26 (NLT2)

Feelings guide many decisions and can fog making the right ones.  Choosing God’s way leads to good things for ourselves and our family too. 

Have you made decisions to go with God rather than submit to feelings and do something else?

Have feelings for family fogged your view of God’s light?

Have you or someone you know adapted God’s truth due to feelings for a family member?

Have you chosen to be Jesus’ disciple?