When Jesus claims to be the light of the world he is telling us that when we allow him, he helps us see a reality that our natural eyes can’t see. While we have eyes that see fine, without Jesus we are missing something. I want to explore three ways in which Jesus lights our way.
THREE WAYS JESUS LIGHTS OUR WAY
First, Jesus exposes our motives. In John 8 Jesus gets in a fight with the Pharisees over whether his testimony is valid. The Pharisees, however, aren’t arguing in good faith. Instead, they’re trying to find excuses not to listen to Jesus as he challenges their warped self-identity. Like them, we can shape our theology to excuse our unwillingness to engage God. Jesus forces us to look at how we adapt our beliefs to our lifestyle rather than the other way around.
Second, Jesus shows us who God is. When Jesus heals a man born blind, he shows us how he opens our eyes. It’s only by his gracious self-revelation that we can even respond to God at all. But the blind man is different than the self-righteous Pharisees. He can’t wait to see God, while the Pharisees do everything in their power to stymie Jesus’ revelation to them. There are times we can be like the Pharisees. We don’t want a greater revelation of God because it threatens our comfort. We don’t need the accountability or uncertainty that a deeper revelation might bring. Jesus invites us to know God more. But are we ready to see God, or do we prefer to keep him at a distance?
Finally, Jesus shows us a new way of life. History’s greatest people are judged according to their outsized accomplishments. Jesus doesn’t fit this mould. His glory isn’t in military might, scientific insight, or business acumen. His glory is in his submission to the will of the father, in a cross-shaped life. Jesus’ example shows us a way of success that differs from what our natural eyes see. One where our faithfulness to God is more important than our accomplishments. But are we willing to lay aside achievement to please God?
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- Have I ever had a realization that a belief I held was important to me because it justified my actions?
- Why do we sometimes fear a new revelation of God? How can we ensure that we are open to seeing him in new and deeper ways?
- What does a successful life look like? What kind of decisions do we need to make in order to honestly pursue faithfulness before accomplishment.