The ‘tohu va bohu’ state of the earth could only change after the LORD God revealed the glory of His Son and separated darkness from that. Without this light neither could the earth be productive in any way nor can anything or anyone else can be. All that was created came into being by and for the Son of God and subsists in Him. Our life also undergoes a major change once we receive His light and we become capable of living in conformity with the will of God and be productive for His kingdom.
The Israelites were chosen by God as a community through which He desired to reveal Himself to other nations. God promised Abraham, ‘I will bless those who bless you and whosoever curses you I will curse, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you’ (Genesis 12:3). The Pharisees and Jewish elders took pride in their knowledge of the Law of Moses and considered themselves to the cream of mankind. When Lord Jesus joined Matthew and his friends for dinner at his house, the Pharisees resented this and questioned the disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ (Matthew 9:10-12). Filled with their self righteousness, they considered everyone else, including Jews, far below them in their spiritual acts of pleasing God. Lord Jesus revealed His mission to them that His coming was not for the spiritually healthy, for ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick’. They wanted to pass judgment and condemnation on each and everyone who strayed from the path, though they were blind to their own sinful lives filled with evil and darkness.
The Scripture clarifies the relationship between Light and darkness that ‘God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all’ (1 John 1:5). Light represents what is good, true, pure, holy and reliable while darkness represents what is evil, sinful and shameful that does not want to be seen. Light not only exposes whatever exists but also provides a standard of separation between the two for in the darkness everything is the same, its nature, character and purpose completely hidden. Light dispels darkness through exposure and shows the right way.
The Savior Lord’s teaching session in the Temple courts was interrupted by the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted Him to pass judgment of death by stoning, as per the law of Moses, on a woman caught in adultery (John 8:2-12). The man who was equally guilty of adultery with her was not brought. The simple statement of the Lord to the accusers to let the one who was sinless among them to cast the first stone, and His action of writing on the ground, convicted them all of their hypocrisy, forcing them to leave. Without condemning her, Lord Jesus gave her hope that she could and must live without sin in her life by commanding her to sin no more.
After showing the accusers and the accused the mirror about their sinful state, He declared, ‘I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life’. The Holy Place in the Temple was lit by the Menorah but inside the Most Holy Place there was no artificial source of light and only light from God’s glory was seen. Though He accepted the sin of the woman, yet He also revealed the love of the LORD God by giving a chance and hope to her for her life by not condemning her. ‘God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him’ (John 3:17). This saving act of the Lord is through shining a bright light into them to empower, lead and guide the people into the light of His own righteousness for no one can earn this by his deeds.
The first letter of the Holy Bible ‘In the beginning’ is ‘Bereshit’ and it starts with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet ‘Bet’ and not ‘Aleph’. The Jewish sages give various reasons for this. First, ‘Bet’ is the first letter for ‘berachah’ or blessing and ‘Aleph’ for ‘Arur’ meaning a curse and God did not want His Word, the Torah, to be a curse for mankind but a blessing. Second, ‘Aleph’ being 1 means singularity while God does not desire man to be alone and ‘Bet’ is 2 and fits with the blessing of ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28). Third, ‘Bet’ as a letter in written form is closed at the sides and open in front, so man is required to focus on what is ahead and not behind. We are not to spend time speculating on what was and could have been but since God is ‘I AM’, we also live in the present and with that, influence the future in His Divine strength that works in and through us. Too much of thinking about the past, when starting afresh or starting the same thing again, takes the much needed energy away. Though we are influenced by all that is around us, we are to retain our focus on the Word of God and move under the guidance of His Spirit that dwells in us.
Before God permitted the ‘Light’ to shine, the earth was ‘tohu va bohu’, absolutely without form or shape and covered with darkness. His glory as Creator was revealed in the universe and the earth was changed to be productive. In like manner His birth as Son of Man gives hope to mankind to live in His light and sin no more.
Apostle John indentified the Son of God as God, as Word, as Light of the world in whom was life and that all things were made through Him and nothing came into being without Him (John 1:1-4). ‘The Word of God is living and active’ for the power of the Holy Spirit acts in consonance with the spoken Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). Genesis 1 God permitted everything to happen with His spoken Word and the coming of the Son of God also sets into motion changes in our understanding of Him and the Scriptures, for our spiritual eyes are then opened.
The blind man was healed in Bethsaida and at first he could see people and ‘they looked like trees walking’ (Mark 8:24). Many believe that healing takes time but the Son of God, who had created everything from nothing, could have created a new eye, if it was needed. In a spiritual sense a wife is referred as ‘a fruitful vine’ and children as ‘olive shoots’ (Psalm 128:3). A blessed man is one ‘who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him’ and such a person shall be ‘like a tree planted by the water’ which draws water from the stream and does not fear heat (Jeremiah 17:7-8). Such a person gets spiritual sustenance from the stream of God’s Word and remains unaffected by tribulations or trials. The man’s spiritual eyes were opened first and then he received complete sigh.
Lord Jesus revealed His Deity to the Jewish elders by saying, ‘Before Abraham was, I AM’ (John 8:54). He being God reversed the process of healing in another blind man by opening his eyes first and then only he received spiritual sight. A man born blind received his sight from the ‘Light of the world’ and this had never happened before, but the Pharisees saw this as violation of Sabbath (John 9:1-38). Vr 11 on being questioned, first time the man who ws healed, referred to the Lord as ‘A man they call Jesus’. Vr 16-17 while the Pharisees termed the Lord as ‘not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath’, others termed Him as righteous for ‘how can a sinner perform such signs?’ But the blind man who was healed called Him ‘a prophet’. Vr25-27 on being questioned again he asked the Pharisees ‘Do you want to become His disciples too?’ Either he had seen the disciples or had himself become one of the Lord’s followers. Vr 33 The man progressed further in his faith by declaring Lord Jesus being ‘from God’, for if He was not ‘He could do nothing’. And finally vr 38 He declared His faith in the Savior Lord ‘and worshipped Him’. The day one is baptized into God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in Him to help him acquire the traits of God and change starts taking place.
Lord Jesus categorized the believers also as ‘the Light of the world’ for once we accept His as Our Savior, we are washed by the Living Water of the Word and no longer in deep darkness of sin (Matthew 5:14 & 16). We then do not remain light receivers but are transformed into light givers also for we the start trying to love our enemies also. The Jews gave this title ‘light of the world or lamp of the universe’ to eminent Rabbis like Rabbi Judah and believers are elevated to that place of eminence by the Lord. With this we become responsible to show our distinctive character as a Christian and to ignite this spark of faith in others also. With this, our Lord also commanded, ‘In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven’.
Lord Jesus counted His suffering on the cross also as a means to bring glory to God the Father for He prayed, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You’ (John 17:1). We glorify good through our thoughts, words and deeds, for any action of ours as good citizens of heaven glorifies God but in same manner we can miss out on this also. As redeemed of God our sins are forgiven but the change in our sinful nature is a gradual process. Lord Jesus prayed to God the Father, ‘I have given them the glory that You gave Me’ and with this, the effect of the garments given to Adam and Eve that covered it was removed and our spiritual union with God was restored (John 17:22). We are to display the bright light of this same glory to others.
Can we miss out on displaying the Divine light in us? Apostle Paul identifies our state as ‘darkness’ and ‘not in darkness’ before we become the ‘light of the world’ (Ephesians 5:8-11). Since we were darkness means that we were not being influenced but were active participant in all actions of forces of darkness whose sole aim is rebellion against God and His people. The first sin in the created beings was pride, for the devil being filled with pride at his own beauty and perfection attempted to equate himself with God. He throws a dare to his intended target like asking Eve, ‘Has God indeed said’ implying that even if He has, so what, for He created this fruit to be eaten (Genesis 3:2). The same challenge was thrown to the Son of God, ‘If You are the Son of God’ create bread and eat or jump off and let the angels care for You and prove Your status to everyone (Matthew 4:4 & 6). His attack is on the heart, the feelings and ego.
In the vernacular press there are innumerable advertisements about guaranteed fulfillment of desire to meet and marry the desired person or to get control etc. It is a dare to the victim of this to spend money and take control of whoever you desire and we act like the devil to attempt to do so for he tries to control the mind for evil. The light within us comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Apostle lists out the fruit of the Spirit being ‘in all goodness, righteousness and truth, finding out what is acceptable to the Lord’ (Ephesians 5:9-11). Apostle Paul has explained what should be the behavior of a believer through the fruit of the Holy Spirit visible to others in our everyday behavior (Galatians 5:22).
As children of light we are to ‘have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them’ (Ephesians 5:11). We are not to take any interest in these evil works, even for knowing more details, but simply expose them through the comparative light of our light of righteousness received from the Lord.
We may be in the light and not behave under the influence of the same light for any reason whatsoever. We can knowingly or unknowingly hide this light in various ways. First, when we do not speak and keep quiet to witness about the same before others who are either not exposed or are opposed to this. Second, when we choose to go with the opinion of others and refuse to stand up and be counted among those, who are opposed to the darkness around us. Third, we may choose to deny the light out of fear or greed. Fourth, continuing by choice to lead a sinful life while making no effort to be transformed. Fifth, not making any effort to explain to others the purpose and blessings of this ‘Light of the world’ and the available blessing of salvation. Sixth, ignoring the need of others and taking no steps to lead them into this light. Feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, caring for the stranger, clothing the naked, healing the sick and visiting the prisoners are all acts of spiritual and material realm to show the light of the heavenly kingdom to others, that we may ignore out of fear or any other reason (Matthew 25:35-36).
A believer’s walk of faith is about our conduct expressing our inner traits and strength because of the light of righteousness received from the Savior Lord. Even if we start avoiding the people who are in darkness to save ourselves, we are indirectly partnering with the devil. Science terms light as energy and every believer, when filled with this Divine light from God the Holy Spirit, receives that inherent strength to do the required works. Lord Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and we are filled with His light to join in this battle, the battle is His and we as His soldiers must also perform our role.
Darkness from within or outside attempts to hide something and creates an inherent fear of exposure. We after being filled with the ‘Light of life’ are mandated by the Lord to help others see the glory of this Divine Light and escape from the clutches of sin and the devil. Without joining others in their deeds of evil we can witness to the glory of God through our testimony and our good works. Avoiding any contact with people of other faiths is to act in fear and also denial of this message of blessings from God made available through the sacrifice of His only Son.