Jesus created controversy again! Not on purpose, but in order to challenge the Jews to see the truth of who He is and why He had come. He didn’t cause these problems from the safety of a pulpit, where He could say things that the people did not like but to which they could not reply. Rather, He said them out in the temple courts where they could respond and answer back.
Jesus made a series of claims about Himself that were challenged by His enemies. He then answered their questions wisely, leading on to His next claim. All the time, Jesus spoke the truth in love with firmness and conviction. He was constantly trying to show them who He was, but their eyes were blinded.
Jesus declares that He was the light of the world. This meant that He was bringing new life to the world, to light up the darkness which had been consuming it. This darkness is the darkness of evil. It has never overcome or extinguished God’s light, John 1:5. It never will. The light showed us up for who we really were: sinners in need of a Saviour. It also shows us today what we can do about it: accept all that Jesus has done for us on the Cross. Only then can we walk in the light as He is in the light. When we follow Jesus, the true light, we can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin. He lights the path ahead of us so that we can see how to live, Psalm 119:105. He has removed the darkness of sin from our lives. But we do have to let Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit and His Word, shine into our lives. There is no more need for us to stumble around in the darkness, in any area of our lives.
How big is your light?
If our spirit is born again by the Holy Spirit of God, we are like a lit match. Wherever we go in the world, we shed light. A dark place cannot be dark any longer if we are there, as even the light of a match is more powerful than all the darkness surrounding it. The effect does not go very far, but it does affect the surrounding area. The light from this match can grow bigger very quickly when fanned by the wind of the Holy Spirit and when joined with lots of other like-minded matches to form a bonfire!
This is nowhere better shown than in a person coming to Christ, who is full of the joy of salvation and shares it with a group of older Christians – older “in the faith”, that is – who have become tinder dry with religious routine in their faith and excitement for Jesus. They receive the challenge of this new light for Christ, take God at His Word and start to see the miraculous again. That little match very soon becomes a beacon on a hill and the fire that has started becomes a mighty bush fire, totally unable to be controlled by any amount of dampening water that the enemy tries to throw at it.
We can allow the light of Jesus to shine in every part of our being. This makes us more like a fire everywhere we go. It can lead to some persecution and rejection, especially from religious people, who talk the talk but do not walk the walk! “For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the light and will not come out into the light, but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved.” John 3:20 AMP.
When we walk full of the light of Jesus Christ, we show love and joy, peace and gentleness everywhere we go. If faced with opposition, we can speak strongly when speaking to religious people. Jesus demonstrates this in John 8:25 AMP: “Why do I even speak to you! I am exactly what I have been telling you from the first.” But He showed gentleness, compassion and understanding when talking to other followers of His – as in John 8:30 AMP: “As He said these things, many believed on Him…trusted relied on and adhered to Him”.
“Though once your heart was full of darkness, now it is full of light from the Lord, and your behaviour should show it! Because of this light within you, you should do only what is good and right and true.” Ephesians 5:8 LB.
- Jesus – John 8:12; 1 John 1:5.
- Knowledge of the Glory of God – 2 Corinthians 4:6,7; Revelation 21:23.
- Making everything visible – Ephesians 5:13,14; Revelation 22:5.
- Everlasting – Isaiah 60:20.
- The Word, giving direction – Psalm 119:105.
Darkness comes from:
- Lack of vision – Micah 3:6.
- Letting your eyes look at the wrong things – Matthew 6:23.
- No revelation knowledge – John 1:5.
- Choosing darkness – John 3:19 Romans 13:12; Isaiah 5:20.
Darkness Results in:
- Being unsuccessful – Deuteronomy 28:29.
- Constantly getting things wrong – Psalm 82:5.
- No love – 1 John 1:6.
- No future – Jeremiah 23:12; Matthew 15:14.
Many born-again people have chosen to live in ‘shadow-land’ – never coming into the full light of Jesus. But, walking in the light means that we can keep our lives pure, talk right, love the unlovely and have close encounters of the “God kind”!
It takes time and effort to develop our deep relationship with Him. We find out that it is hard work disciplining our flesh and our feelings can also dominate our lives. If we don’t press on, we will never rise to the exciting heights of the pure light of Jesus shining in and through us, affecting the world around us wherever we go. This is the life that God wants for us and we only have to make ourselves available to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He longs for us to walk in His Light, so that He can do all the things He wants to do through us, because of His power in us.
Jesus gives us the keys to this shining life, John 8:28-29.
- Lift Jesus up.
- Do nothing on your own, only on God’s authority.
- Speak just what the Father teaches you to speak.
- Always remember that you are not on your own.
- Do what pleases the Father not yourself.
If you will make the commitment today, to get on intimate terms with your heavenly Father, you will find that to walk in the Light of Christ is the highest and most exciting way to live your life. You will be a beacon to all those around you, helping them to cope with the problems which this evil age is throwing at them.
Home challenges for Power Up! – No. 14: Light in the darkness
1. Do you feel that, since you have started working through Joy for Life, you have moved off the launch pad in your walk with God?
2. Read the introductory section of the notes, “Light in the darkness“.
3. a) Did you find it challenging that Jesus spoke up where the people could answer back and not in the pulpit?
b) Where could you speak up for Jesus more?
4. Are you walking in the light as Jesus walked in the light? Give a recent example.
5. Read the notes “How big is your light?” What sort of light would you describe yourself as being? A match, a torch, or maybe a searchlight? Don’t forget: we are all part of the bonfire!
6. Look at the keys that Jesus gives us to “the shining life” and pray about which one the Holy Spirit would like to use to encourage you. Make a note of it here.
Read John 8:31-47
7. What did Jesus say was the sign of a real disciple? What would be the result? (John 8:31-32)
8. Who does Jesus say is a slave? (John 8:34)
9. Why did the Jews think they were free?
10. Pick out several points from these verses that describe the devil.
11. Pick out some points describing God as a good Father. Do you see God like this? Where do you need to adjust your thinking to come into line with the Word of God?
12. Is there any way you could help someone who was having difficulty seeing God as a good Father?
Read John 8:48-59
13. What did the Jews accuse Jesus of now?
14. a) What stops us from facing death? (John 8:51)
b) What do you think this means?
15. a) In John 8:58 what does Jesus say?
b) Why is this the most powerful statement that He could make?
16. What is the reaction of the people and what does Jesus do?
17. Pick one short verse to memorise and really meditate on this all week so it goes deep into your spirit.