Jesus is the Light of the World
John begins the book by taking us back to the very beginning
Genesis 1:2 – God creates light out of darkness
“God created light to serve as a boundary to darkness. Here light is not only instantly linked to God’s presence but also institutes time and order over the chaos of the formless void. God creates a functioning, orderly environment for people, and the creation of stars gives humanity seasons and cycles of time by which to order their lives. The link of light with the Creator also acts as a symbolic tie between light and life. If light symbolizes God’s presence, and God is the author of life, then surely where God is, life abounds.” – Lexham Bible Dictionary
Light is created before the current orbs of light we have in the sky. John is making a statement about who Jesus is by tying Him to the Creation and calling Him the light.
Darkness is not an equal to the light, it cannot comprehend or overcome the light (vs 4). The darkness is beholden to the light. The light and the darkness are not equal powers. Walking in the light is equated to walking in God’s purposes. Those that walk in darkness have seen a great light (Isaiah 9:2). Light is also linked to concepts of wisdom, understanding and character.
If God’s presence is light and life, then opposition to Him brings darkness and death. If condemnation and death are spoken of as darkness, then salvation from these evils is also spoken in terms of light. Thus also God Himself … becomes a light leading a person out of darkness, toward salvation. The tone of confidence that pervades the [Old Testament Scripture] demonstrates that there is no doubt that God’s presence as light will conquer and even eliminate the darkness. Old Testament prophesies of the ultimate restoration of God’s people are full of the language of light and dawn.
This ties into various Prophecies…
Isaiah 60:1-3 – Darkness shall cover the earth, but light will shine forth such that the Gentiles shall come to your light.
The light will shine out of the darkness and it will be so bright that it will make you bright and the Gentiles bright.
Ezekiel 43:2, 5 – God’s glory will shine in the east and His glory will be seen.
Ezekiel is in Babylonian captivity at the time. The light of God’s glory in Jerusalem is seen from there.
In New Testament times teaching was often layered and calling back to previous things that people would have known growing up
While the words of the opening of the Gospel of John are powerful in themselves, John means something more.John is calling forth the prophecies of the Light coming forth out of darkness to tell us something about this Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.The readers of John’s Gospel would know that John was saying that Jesus is
- The Promised One
John the Baptist
John the Apostle wants to make sure that we make a distinction between John the Baptist and Jesus. John’s light is not of His own, he is witness to the light. He is like the moon, reflecting the light.
Our job as believers is to reflect the light, because we are not the light:
- No matter how smart we are
- No matter how successful we are by the world’s standards
- No matter the size of the people that listen to us
- No matter the size of our Facebook followers
We are simply servants who are trying to show others salvation and the Master. We are witnesses to the Light, trying to share that Light with others.