October 19 – I AM – Light of the World

Read John 8:12

Have you ever been on a tour of a cave? On the way in, it is OK, in fact kind of pretty with the water dripping down the walls.  If you go into an older cave, you might actually see stalagmites or stalactites of various colors. However, the deeper you go into the cave, the darker it gets. Without fail, every cave tour includes a time when all of the electric lights are turned off and you are standing in dead silence and complete darkness! You literally cannot see your hand in front of your face! The longer you stand there in the darkness, the more nervous you become. Anxiety just keeps building and building. You can finally breathe again, once the guide switches on his flashlight and leads the group back to the light at the entrance.

In Jesus’ time, people were living in darkness. They were surrounded by people who believed in false gods, and they were considered the lowest class of people living under the rule of the cruel Roman government. They didn’t know what to do or who to follow.

Even the religious leaders were corrupt making hundreds of rules so that no one, including themselves, could possibly follow them all. Right before today’s verse, Jesus had pointed out the leaders’ own hypocrisies by writing something in the sand that made them drop their accusations against the woman condemned to be stoned for adultery. These “leaders” were living in sin themselves but were blinded by their piety and quest for power. They, too, were living in darkness.

Jesus, in his statement, offered them the light to guide them out of the darkness of sin and into the light of God’s love.

But that is not all. Today’s verse also states that “Whoever follows Jesus will never walk in darkness, but WILL HAVE the light of life!” That light that Jesus talked about did not go away when He ascended into heaven. The light of Jesus lives on in the hearts of believers.

I love history and am especially fascinated with the stories of Holocaust survivors of WWII. Time and time again, ordinary people like you and me defied the powerful German army and put their own lives on the line to hide and protect their Jewish neighbors and complete strangers. The same is true of the people involved in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. Elaborate plans and networks were set up to lead people, who were living in fear and darkness of slavery, into the light of freedom. There are countless other times that believers have jumped in to rescue others in their darkest hours.

Why?

Because it is really hard, in fact, next to impossible, to hide light in darkness. One lit match can light up the darkest room. One act of kindness in Jesus’ name can change and save lives. The light of Jesus living in you needs to SHINE!

Where will you spread His light today?

Pat Arnold

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