The Light of the World

Peter Adams, Cristo-Redentor, Corcovado Mountain, Rio

Scripture Text: John 8:12

12Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 

Jesus is the light of the world.  We’ve heard that many times.  We like that.  It comforts us, give us hope for this sometimes-messed up world in which we live.  So, we wait.  We wait for the Light to come flooding in, for the darkness to subside, for the world to be what it is and always was meant to be.  And in the meantime, we rely on faith.  We look toward Jesus to lead us home.

Does that sound about right?  But what if it’s different from what we imagine?  What if the waiting is not for the time that the Light will come and fill our world but for the time that we will finally let the Light into where we are standing now?  See, contrary to what we’d like to visualize, I’m beginning to believe that Jesus has no intention of lighting up the world like some sort of massive fluorescent light fixture.  God is not dangling full lighting at us as a reward for our faith or for changing our ways or anything else.

The Light is already here.  Jesus did not say “I am going to be the Light of the world” or “Someday I’ll light up the world”.  Jesus said “I AM the light of the world.  The Light is shining into the world.  Sometimes it is hidden.  Sometimes we hide from it.  Sometimes we shrink away from it.  Sometimes we miss it because we’re looking in another direction.  But the Light is here, shining its way into the world.  The world is made of Light.

This Season of Advent is not preparing us for the Light to come; it is preparing us to learn to see what is already here.  It wakes us up, clears our eyes, and shows us how to focus on the Light that is shining into our lives.  And if we look toward that Light, if we learn to see it even through the shadows, the darkness in which we sometimes reside will not disappear but will become a hollow space prepared for Light.  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. (Desmond Tutu) 

Grace and Peace,


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