Think back to when you were a kid and you were scared of the dark. What was one of the craziest monsters you saw in your room? When you yelled for your parents and they rushed in and turned the light on, what did it end up being? Darkness has a profound way of messing with us. We see things that aren’t there. The nothingness takes control and is given power over us. As soon as the lights come on, the darkness is exposed for what it is: powerless.
It is easy to chuckle at the fears of a child because we have a knowledge that they don’t have. We know there’s nothing in the darkness. What about the darkness around us? I don’t want to downplay the demonic. There are dark forces in this world that take a strong hold over people and even nations. This isn’t as simple for us in the way we look at children. If you go into the darkness of this world, bad things can and will happen to you.
When Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” He is saying that he intends to illuminate the entire world. His light will reach the darkest corners and reveal those powers for what they really are: powerless.
This illumination brings judgment. These dark powers will be put on trial and exposed. Jesus came to bring judgement but he also came to bring salvation, hope, and life. He came to bring liberation but there are always people who do not want to be liberated. Jesus’ presence as light in the world is not good news for them.
It would seem that in this chapter, Jesus is on trial for his identity. But, we gradually realize that it is in fact not Jesus who is on trial but those who are opposing him. Jesus is exposing their darkness, that they had forgotten who their God really was.
When we look at Jesus, we see the image of God. When we look at Jesus, we see the image we are called to become. This chapter exposes darkness in those who came to question Jesus. Israel was supposed to be a light to the nations. This is why they do not recognize the light. We too are called to be a light to the nations. When we take a good long hard look at Jesus, the darkness is exposed for what it really is: powerless.
Where do you see darkness in your life? Where do you see darkness in the world that seems too overwhelming? When you look at world you are in direct connection with, what would it look like to illuminate those areas with the the light of Christ?