continued from last month
Aren’t you glad God created light? There wouldn’t be much (if any) life anywhere without light. In fact, it’s almost impossible for any of us to imagine no light. We have a number of tourism caves and caverns near us in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota; usually, when the tour group is deep in the cave, the guide turns off all the lights for a few moments. Wow! Total darkness is really dark!
I thought I’d throw in the word, effulgence in our headline, just to impress you once again about how I really do know some big words. Just a little humor there . . . You can look up the meaning of effulgence in any good dictionary. Scholarly estimates inform us that since the creation of humanity there have been approximately 50 billion people upon this planet, of whom 8 billion are now living; by what amazing process does Jesus illumine every person who comes into the world?
Other references in John’s gospel (8: 12 and 12: 46) tell us that Jesus is the Light of the world and that whoever follows him will not walk in darkness. Are you walking in darkness, are there areas of your life that are still dark? Are you following him? If you are, the amount of God’s light you have in your life is somewhat a test of true discipleship, of a true follower of Jesus.
We remind you that last month we learned that Jesus is the sole expression of the glory of God; He is the light-being, the outraying of the nature of Father God. Jesus is not only the light of the world in a spiritual sense, but He is also the only true light of the world in the sense of natural light throughout the universe. As the creator and sustainer of the atomic structure of the entire universe as we read in Colossians 1: 16 and 17, Jesus is the very First Principle, the First Cause, the sustaining power by which all things adhere together, consist, and have life.
Jesus actually “binds” together the entire created universe, all things visible and invisible. Jesus is the elusive “God Particle” physicists have been searching for the past few decades (and think they may have found not long ago). His actual being is the very outraying of all light in the universe as it flows forth from God the Father. Jesus’ unveiled being is brighter than a thousand suns, far surpassing the brilliance and splendor of countless galaxies. Don’t limit Jesus to his humanity—to a babe in a manger, to a human of flesh and blood. He is far above everything in all creation and has “ascended” and returned to the heavenlies. Yes, he is fully Man, but don’t forget that he is also fully God, and that one of his characteristics is that he is THE light. We have already seen just a dim glimpse of this in the first chapter of the Revelation.
Preview of Coming Attractions
There are other Bible references that reveal this facet of Jesus’ nature and being. How often we have skimmed over the amazing account of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount in Luke 9: 28-36 and Matthew 17: 1-6? You recall the incident: Jesus, accompanied by Peter, James, and John, went up on a high mountain. There Moses and Elijah appeared in a vision and were talking with Jesus. As they talked, the veil of Jesus’ humanity was momentarily stripped from him and the disciples caught a fleeting glimpse of the true person of Jesus. The disciples saw his face shining clear and bright as the sun, and his clothing became white as light. This is Jesus now—as he really is—no longer veiled by his humanity.
Mark 9: 2 uses the word “transfigured” referring to Jesus’ “change” on the mount. That same word is found in 2 Corinthians 3: 18 where we read of how we are gradually being transfigured, changed, and restored into the image of God. Think of it—as he was on that mountain, brilliant in scintillating splendor—so shall we be one day, helping to illuminate the entire universe with the outraying of Jesus from within us. Did Peter, James, and John realize that they were seeing what they would one day become? Do we realize what God has in store for his children? Everything—and more—that the first Adam lost, we shall regain as God the Holy Spirit transfigures—metamorphosizes—us into the very image of the Father’s only begotten Son, Jesus.
A Shadow is Not a Shadow
Peter, a short while after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension back into the heavenlies, experienced just a slight foretaste of this bright splendor in an interesting incident in the 5th chapter of Acts. Do you recall how people kept bringing the sick to Peter that perhaps by just his shadow falling upon them they might be healed? Interestingly, in the original Greek language the word here for “shadow” is not a word meaning a dark spot cast by something in the path of the sun’s light. No, it is a word meaning just the opposite of shadow. It means effulgence. It means a shining of divine energy, a radiance as of a beam of sunlight. So it was not Peter’s shadow that healed; it was God’s healing light within him, an actual, tangible light emanating out from within him that healed the people. Thank God for at least this one New Testament glimpse into what God has in store for his children as they are filled more and more with the light of God, now veiled by human flesh.
The Word of God, the Bible
We must not, of course, overlook the second most important light ever to illuminate the spirits and minds of men: the written Word of God, the Bible. But again—as with the matter of angels—it is not within the scope of this teaching to dwell at length upon such verses as Psalm 119: 105, Proverbs 6: 23, and scores of others which declare the written Word of God to be a lamp to our feet and a light in the darkness. Entire libraries are filled with writings upon this subject and our devoting so little space to it here is certainly in no way intended to minimize the fact that God’s written Word is, and always shall be for the ages of time and eternity, a light to lighten human hearts and minds to the truth of God and Jesus. Jesus and the written word of God, the Bible. What a dynamic duo!
Other Lights In the Darkness
And we would also be derelict in our discussion of light if we neglected God’s people who are types of “lights” to their generations—people such as Peter, Paul, “Saint” Francis, Jeanne Guyon, John Hus, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John and Charles Wesley, Dwight L. Moody, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Anne Graham Lotz, Beth Moore, Joseph Prince, and the like. Certainly such people of God as these have been and are lights of God in a unique sense in their own generations.
Our entire teaching this far has been only preparation and introduction to what will now follow throughout the rest of this teaching. Let’s begin to personalize our subject of light, and now dwell at some length upon the real “meat” of what I really want to share with you. And that “meat” is to see how you and I are involved in this matter of light, both natural and spiritual. We come now to see where we fit into God’s plan to illumine the present darkness upon our planet. We live in both God’s Kingdom and the “kingdoms” of this world; in a sense we are bi-locational. It is also true there remain pockets of darkness (some large, some small) throughout this world’s kingdoms. Some pockets of darkness might remain for ages to come, but they will grow increasingly smaller as God’s light illumines more and more of this world and its dark kingdoms.
You Are The Light of the World!
Let me make a very simple statement first, a statement so simple, yet very far reaching in its fullest implications and ramifications. That statement is: I am the light of the world. You are the light of the world. We are the light of the world. Before you begin to think “blasphemy” and “heresy”, or ask “Who does he think he is?” I invite you to turn in your Bible to Matthew 5: 14 and read it very carefully where Jesus said to his followers: “You are the light of the world.”
Of whom is Jesus speaking when he proclaims “You are the light of the world?” His followers. His disciples. You. Me. Yes, you and I are the light of the world. Are you offended? Are you trying to explain it away because of some incorrect religious teaching you have received? If so, you need a power-full work of the Holy Spirit done in your life to teach you the basic truth of this simple statement by Jesus. I had been a twice-born follower of Jesus for almost 18 years before the raw and awesome truth of that simple statement took root in my heart and mind. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, when the Holy Spirit really begins to reveal to you the simple truth of this verse, an entirely new universe of God’s plans and purposes for humankind—for you—will unfold in your spirit and mind.
You will begin to see and acknowledge to God a new humility in the face of his awesome plan for the creation, redemption, and restoration of the universe. Do not shy away from—nor let anyone rob you—of the simple truth that you are the light of the world. A simple fact must be understood and then you will see how it is so that you are the light of the world. Only that part of you which is the direct outraying of God’s own nature is involved when Jesus declares you are the light of the world.
Only your spirit is involved at this point in time, as we read in Proverbs 20: 27 that the spirit of humans is the candle of the Lord. Presently, it is the spirit component of your being which is the light of the world. After you are resurrected from among the dead, then your whole person, body and soul, as well as spirit, will be the light of the world.
We now turn to a very brief survey of the Bible to better establish the fact that you are the light of the world. What did Jesus say about this, besides his profound statement in Matthew 5: 14? Have you let that statement sink in yet? Is the Holy Spirit even this very moment planting that truth deeper in your heart? Do you believe it? It cannot be explained away . . . No, the original language of the Bible does not say something different.
Do not say, “Yes, but . . . “ Simply believe it; it is a basic truth necessary for the unfolding of God’s entire plan for this world, for this age, for the ages to come, for eternity.
At this point we would like for you to stop and read the following biblical references before continuing on with studying this teaching; please don’t go on with this teaching until you have read and meditated upon these verses: John 12: 35 and 36, 46; Ephesians 4: 18. As we are filled with light, we become children of the light, and Jesus, the self-sustaining light of the world, shines out through us so that we become lights to the nations to bring salvation to the entire earth. See Acts 13: 47.
What did Jesus actually mean when He said his followers are the light of the world? Various biblical references teach very clearly that our GOOD WORKS are the light of the world—our good works that God uses to shed his light on other people to introduce them to Jesus. Please allow God to do whatever deep work in you that is necessary for you to be the means of bringing his Good News to the entire earth? Will you be displayed to the entire creation as one of God’s children? See Romans 8.
John [the baptizer] was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light. Jesus was the real LIGHT! –From John 1
This teaching will be concluded next month
To think about this month
“Speak not lightly of faith, for but a single strand can span the darkness into the light of God beyond.” –Author unknown
All past issues of The Traveler are archived on our ministry website, as well as about 60 of my most popular teachings. Feel free to use any of my writings.
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Revised and Updated May 2019