Jesus the light
Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message" "Alter your course 10 degrees south." Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north." The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south - I am the captain!" Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north - I am seaman third class Jones." Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south - I am a battleship." Then the reply came "Alter your course 10 degrees north - I am a lighthouse."
Last week, we learned from the first five verses of John. John begins by telling us who Jesus is: He is God. He is the Creator. Jesus Christ is the originator of Light and Life. In John 1:6-13 Apostle John is further clarifying about the light of Jesus Christ.
John 1:6-13 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Now, the apostle expands upon the truth that Jesus is the Light.
1. The True Light Represented.
John 1:6-8 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
But when John begins the account of Jesus’ public ministry, he follows the Synoptics and takes us to the ministry of John the Baptist. In John 1:1-5, John focuses upon the Word’s role in eternity. Now he turns to the Word’s relative place in human history, a story that begins with Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist. The Word, in whom exists the life that is the light of men, was first manifest in the public arena of history when a man called John the Baptizer bore witness of him.
Let’s observe what the text says regarding John the Baptist’s role:
a. “There came a man”
John 1:6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John.
b. This man was “sent from God”
John 1:6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John.
See the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
c. He was sent as a “witness” to the light.
John 1:7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.
The purpose of John was to bear witness to the true light. He was not the light but was sent to bear witness of the true light, and by his witness persons would believe in the light. Through his testimony, others would be delivered from spiritual darkness.
We are also called to be witnesses of the light. John pointed forwarded to Jesus Christ who was about to come into the world. We are to point backwards to Jesus who has already come into the world and brought us light.
John employs courtroom language here: the Baptizer was a witness, a testimony, of the true light.
What are the traits of a witness?
John is a witness of Jesus, the true light. He is a testimony of what he has experienced. He is willing to tell others (no matter what the cost). And he has committed himself to sharing what he has experienced.
This text is clear that the roles of the Word and the witness are not to be confused. The apostle John reminds us, “He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness to the light.” John was not the Light; he was a witness of the light. John was merely a witness, the voice of one crying in the desert. He was the preparer, the forerunner, the one who paved the way. John’s Gospel makes it clear that John the Baptist just wanted to point others to Jesus.
What a privilege - to be a witness of the light. What an honor - to point others to the Light. We cannot bring light to the darkened souls of others, but we can direct them toward the light that can. We can reflect the true light. We can be representatives of the light.
There is a temptation for us to view ourselves as more than just witnesses. Sometimes we want to believe that we have the authority of the light Himself, but we must be reminded that we are nothing more than witnesses, reflections of the light. Our role is to point others to Jesus.
2. The True Light Revealed.
John 1:9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
In v.9, the apostle reminds us that the true light came into the world. The “true” light has come into the world and enlightens every man.
Jesus came into the earth and offered eternal life to all, though all will not receive his offer. I believe that what is John means here is that God’s Son has come into the world, the true light has invaded the world and the light divides the human race. Those who live in the darkness respond in unbelief and run from the light. On the other hand, those who embrace the light become children of God (John 1:12). The light shines upon all and forces a distinction between the believer and the unbeliever.
The light has been revealed and each individual is forced to respond: belief or unbelief.
3. The True Light Rejected.
John 1:10-11 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
The Creator came into the world he created and yet the world did not recognize Him. The world that He made (v.3) did not know its Creator. Notice John’s 3-fold use of the word “world” in this verse: He was in the world, He made the world, yet the world did not even recognize Him.
“did not recognize” carries the meaning that they did not embrace Him. They did not know and love Him. Instead, they rejected Him. The world missed its great opportunity.
Even sadder is John 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Jesus came unto His own people and they too did not receive Him. Not only did the world as a whole reject Him, but even His own people rejected Him. When he came to his homeland, the home folks, they too rejected him. He did not come as a stranger or alien. He came to his own. They should have recognized him, yet they did not receive him.
It is one thing to be rejected by those who do not know you. It is something else to come to your own people and they too reject you. They turn their back on you. They do not believe on you.
The immediate context here refers to the Jewish people who would not receive Jesus as the Messiah, but as a whole, the context refers to all who reject Jesus. The Creator has come into his created world, and the world has rejected Him. People flee from the light, they reject it, because they would prefer to live in the darkness. He came unto His own, and they received Him not. He was rejected by His own people.
This truth is evident even today. God reveals Himself to the world, yet they reject Him. God has spoken thru His creation. He has revealed Himself in His word. He has sent Jesus Christ as the Savior, yet people reject Him. They turn in unbelief. As natural sinful persons, we love darkness rather than light.
4. The True Light Received.
John 1:12-13 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
It is sad that the world and his own people rejected Jesus but there is a remnant of those who believe in Jesus. What a privilege God has given us to know him, to receive him and to become his children. The world lost this opportunity, his own people lost this opportunity but we have been blessed with this privilege.
Notice the promise here: to those who embrace Jesus, they are given the right to become children of God. Those who believe are granted the privilege to join the family. They are brought into the family of God thru the new birth.
Observe in these verses what the new birth is not:
The new birth is not of the will of the flesh. It is not by determining to live a Christian or good life that one becomes a Christian. You cannot make yourself a Christian. You cannot study Christians, act like them, go to their church, sing their songs and go thru all the Christian externals and become a Christian. It is not be positive thinking or clean living that you become a Christian. It is not by the will of the flesh, but by the new birth.
The new birth is not of the will of man. It is not the efforts of others that make you a Christian. No pastor, priest, bishop, or pope can make you a Christian. You do not become a Christian through a ceremony, by reading a creed, by standing up, sitting down, coming to an altar, or getting baptized. None of these things make you a Christian. It is not by the will of others.
Then how do I become a Christian? If I am not born a Christian or if external performance does not make me a Christian or if outward effort does not make me a Christian, how do I become a part of the family of God?
To be born of God, to have a new origin from God, is the result of God’s gift of life made possible to those who receive the Lord. It certainly does not come as a result of human relationships, achievements, or determinations. It is a gift given thru faith.
You become a Christian through the will of God. To those who believe in His name, to those who place their faith in Christ alone for salvation, to those God gave the right to become children of God. Becoming a Christian is not an external act but an internal embracing of Jesus.
Becoming a Christian is a change in status. The sinner is given the right to become a child of God. To be a child of God is to be placed in an intimate relationship with God Himself. The True Light received brings illumination to the darkened soul of sinful humanity.
Jesus Christ came into this world to enlighten us from the darkness of this world. Have you received Jesus or are
Now let me ask you the ones who are sitting. If you are a Christian, are you being a witness of the Light? We are not the light, but we are witnesses of the Light. How can I be a witness? Testify as to what you have experienced. Take a decision today to witness and testify this light who are still living in darkness.
This sermon belongs to the series Uncategorized. Other sermons in this series: