Last week, we discovered that the God who started it all with, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) was also the crucified Savior who opened eternity for you and me with, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Continuing on in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John, the reader comes to find the Creator not only created light, but came as the Light.
Jesus not only breathed life into the first man, He came to offer eternal life to all. Take a moment and read John 1:3-9, taking special note of the words “light” and “life.”
The Apostle John wants the reader to understand that Jesus was more than Creator. In Verse 3, he tells us that all things came into being through Jesus. Then, in John 1:4, the apostle makes a bold statement as he declares that Jesus was not only the Creator, He was and is the One in whom all things find meaning. John writes that all things find their source of life in Christ. The word “life” speaks of literal life.
Paul reiterates this in Colossians 1:16-17, which states, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. So, in Jesus everything that is alive from the smallest cell to the largest animal, everything is held together by Jesus Christ.”
However, as much as the word is interpreted literally, it can also be interpreted figuratively. Not only do all living things find their life source in Jesus — all things, especially humanity, find their meaning and purpose in Christ. Jesus said that He came to give us life in abundance (John 10:10). Many folks have come to interpret this promise as a promise that Jesus has come to give us an abundance of things. However, did Jesus not remind us to store up treasures in Heaven rather than earthbound treasures (Matthew 6:20)? As well, did not the Lord also teach us that the measure of a man is not in what they possess (Matthew 6:31-33)?
No, when Jesus spoke of the abundant life, He was looking beyond things that cannot satisfy to a life filled with priceless meaning and fulfilling purpose. MasterCard is right — there are some things that money can buy, but the most important things it cannot. Nothing can buy life. Instead, it comes as a gift from the Giver of life (Romans 6:23).
In Verse 4, John also reminds us that Jesus is the source of light for our lives. In creation, light serves three purposes: It illumines, it warms and it provides energy. Jesus would have us know that what is true in created light is also true of Him. He called Himself the Light of Life.
This was not a new description. In Isaiah 53:11 (NIV), the suffering servant is called the Light of life (John 8:12). God offers to humanity a Light that does for us what sunlight does for this world: He brings light into the darkness of uncertainty, fear and hopelessness. He brings warmth into the soul made cold through countless disappointments and broken promises. He brings vitality to the tired spirit and weary heart staggering under a heavy load of disillusionment and meaninglessness.
As a matter of fact, God promises that for all who trust in Him, He “energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind” (Isaiah 40:30-31, The Message).
I think we could camp out here for a while, but we’d best move on.
John not only describes the work of the Word who became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14), he tells us the mission of this one the Jews called Messiah. In Verse 5, John discloses that the Light came to shine into the darkness. In his day, “darkness” was a euphemism, or saying, describing sin, hopelessness, emotional or spiritual emptiness, fear or death. The word can also mean “dimness” or “obscurity.” In other words, the Light burst into a world whose inhabitants just can’t see things exactly right. We live in darkness, in all its shades of meaning. It was as if we were blind — or, at the very least, looking through eyes glazed over with cataracts. We knew that things were quirky or worse, but we didn’t know why. Then the Light came. We didn’t quite understand Him, but something within humanity said we ought to at least listen and watch. Indeed, something in us knew what He said was true; even more, who He said He was is true (1:9).
So much more can be and has been said about these verses, but let’s draw it to a close with these questions to ponder: What is it in life that you have poured yourself into hoping to find purpose and meaning for your existence? And which word best describes what is filling your life today: darkness or light?
As you think on these, will you also consider this: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
Next week: How’d We Miss Him? (John 1:10-14).