Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Light of the World

The startling fact about all of the great "I AM" statements from Jesus recorded in John's gospel is that they are simple declarations of fact. "I AM the resurrection and the life." "I AM the way, the truth and the life." "I AM the bread of life." "I AM the true vine." "I AM the Good Shepherd." "I AM the light of the world." The truth or reality of these declarations in no way depends upon us or upon our faith. We do not make Jesus Christ the resurrection, or the life, or the light of the world. He is. And he is the light of the cosmos because he is the one in and through and by and for whom all things were created and are sustained. Jesus is both the source of our existence and its reason for being. The meaning of human existence, and indeed of all creation is found in the person of Jesus. There is no other meaning for us.

Now we can see something of what sin and salvation all about. We either believe in Jesus and in his vision of God, life and history, or we believe in ourselves and our own vision. Thus we either spend our lives seeking to participate in Jesus' way of seeing and being, or we spend our lives trying to make others—and indeed Jesus himself—believe in and participate in ours. Sin is insisting that Jesus repent and believe in us. It is insisting he give up his vision of his Father and the relationship he has established with us and join us in our vision and its religion. Christian faith and repentance is saying no to our own darkness, no to believing in ourselves, and yes to Jesus.

A simple prayer. Lord Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world. I don't want to see things the way I do any longer, and I do not want to impose my will or ideas or vision upon others. Give me your mind, your light, your heart. Help me see your Father, others and all creation with your eyes. Help me change my mind and believe in you. Deliver me from the darkness and give me your light on life.

Happy New Year


Anonymous said...

Hi Baxter!

Thank you for your comments on belief in Jesus as compared to belief in ourselves. The first belief brings light; the latter belief brings darkness.

And Happy New Year to you, as well.

J. Richard Parker

Anonymous said...

I just saw the movie "I Am Legend" It is full of the Gosple message and the Triune Life of God. Jesus declaration "I AM the light of the world" is cleverly seen in this movie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Baxter,

I am moved by the contrast between the affirmative statements Jesus makes in his "I AM" statements and the negativity in the "I am not..." statements made by the enemy.

The I AM leads us to light, the "I am not..." leads us to believe we are still in darkness.

May we train our ears to hear the Lord of light rather than the prince of darkness.

Rick Shallenberger