Jesus, The Light of the World

Bible Book: John  1 : 1-9
Subject: Christmas; Jesus, The Light; Light of the World; Birth of Jesus
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

Praise the Lord! Would you be finding John chapter 1? When you’ve found it, look up here - John chapter 1.

I want to tell you an interesting story, and, really, a very sad story. Back in World War II, in the North Atlantic, there was an aircraft carrier that was in danger from enemy submarines. And they sent out five of their finest airplanes with five of their finest pilots to scout out and to see if they could spot the enemy submarines. It was nighttime. The captain of that aircraft carrier realized he was in grave danger, and gave this commandment. He said, “Every light on this ship is to be extinguished. There is to be a total black out.” Those five pilots that had gone out to reconnoiter to try to find those enemy submarines finally came back. And they radioed to that aircraft carrier. They said, “We’re coming home. Give us some light to land by.” The radio operator said, “I’m sorry. There’s a total blackout. We cannot give you light.” Another of those pilots radioed in, and said, “Just give us some light, and we’ll land.” Again, the order came back, “It is total blackout. We cannot give you some light.” In desperation, one of the pilots radioed in, and said, “Give us just one light to help us find our way home.” The radio dispatcher there aboard that aircraft carrier with a broken heart said, “I can give you no light,” and shut off the switch. Five brave American pilots, five of America’s best, went down in the blackness to the chilly waters of the North Atlantic and out into eternity.

Now I want you to keep that story in mind as I read to you from the Gospel of John, beginning in verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life;” - now, listen to this - “and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was” - that is, John - “not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:1–9)

I want to talk to you today about “Jesus, the Light of the World” - “Jesus, the Light of the World.” Like those pilots, we’re in a desperate condition; but, thank God, there is light. Light has come into the world. Light came to the world in Bethlehem. I was thinking this past week of the scriptures, the Christmas passages, that tell that Jesus is the Light of the World. Just put these in the margin there. Don’t look them up, but just write them down. In Isaiah chapter 9 and verse 2, Isaiah, looking forward to that time when our Lord and Savior would be born in Bethlehem, said, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2) And that light, of course, Isaiah goes on to tell us, in the sixth verse of that same chapter, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” (Isaiah 9:6) That child is the light that Isaiah was prophesying about.

Zacharias, who was the father of John the Baptist, anticipated the coming of the Savior into the world. And he said in Luke chapter 1, verses 78 and 79, “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,” - “the dayspring from on high”: that’s another word to describe the Lord Jesus - “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78–79)

Simeon, that dear old man of God, picked up the baby Jesus, to bless the baby Jesus. And here’s what Simeon said. In Luke chapter 2, verse 28, the Bible says, “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation…” - now he’s holding the baby Jesus, and this is what he says - “for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Luke 2:28–32)

Christmas is about light. Jesus is the light of the world. We love to sing “Silent Night, Holy Night,” but “Silent Night, Holy Night” is not about the night. It is about the light. And one stanza says,

Silent night, holy night!
Darkness flies and all is light!  - JOSEF MOHR

It’s not about the night. It’s about the light. We sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” and a part of that is,

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in his wings. - CHARLES WESLEY

Light is come into the world, John tells us, in the third chapter of John. I want you to notice with me, as we think about “Jesus, the Light of the World,” five things about Him - five things about His wonderful, glorious light.

I. The Purity of the Light

The first thing I want you to notice is the purity of that light - the purity of that light. Now the Bible says the light was in the world. Jesus was in the world; but, friend, He was not of the world. In the natural world, there is nothing as pure as sunlight, nothing as pure, really, as any kind of light. Let me tell you something about light. Light can never be defiled. Listen to me. Light can never be corrupted, no matter what it passes through, or no matter what it falls upon. Light can never be defiled. It can never be sullied. It can never be corrupted. You can let light fall on the most corruptible, putrefying, vile, loathsome, disease - ­ridden object or subject, and yet the light is not touched by it at all. It can expose it, but it’s not touched by it.

Now, you take water from the purest spring, and it might be pure water, but, as it bubbles up and begins to flow away, it gets contaminated. But not with light. You can take snow - crystal pure - let it fall from heaven, but before long, that snow will be corrupt. But not light - not light: light can never by defiled. And, therefore, light is a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was in this world. Jesus, the Light of the World, He exposed sin, but He was never contaminated by sin. Jesus could touch sinners, but sin never touched Jesus.

Now, you think about it. He’s absolutely, totally undefiled. And so I love the picture of light. When the Bible calls Christ the Light of the World, It reminds me of the sinless, stainless purity of the Son of God. Jesus was the only One who ever lived who could look others in the face and say, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (John 8:46) I wouldn’t say that to my friends, much less to my enemies. But Jesus was absolutely pure, absolutely sinless. Light is come into the world. He was in the world, but He was not of the world. He was there to expose sin, but He was never contaminated by sin. So, when you think of Jesus as the Light of the World, the first thing I want you to think about is His uncorruptible purity. Have you got that?

II. The Constancy of the Light

Now, here’s the second thing I want you to think about when you think about Jesus as the Light of the World: not only His purity, but His constancy. You see, there’s one thing about light. Light is constant. The first verse here tell us that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Now Jesus is God; and, being God, He never changes. God cannot change. How could God change? He couldn’t get better, and He surely won’t get worse. He’s God. He’s absolutely unchangeable. He says, “I am the LORD, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6) And, you see, light is constant. Light does not change.

Let me give you a verse to put in your margin - James 1, verse 17. The Bible speaks of Jesus and God the Father as light that’s unchanging, and it says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness.” (James 1:17) What does that mean? There is no change.

Now Einstein came up with the theory of relativity. And it’s an incredible thing. Few men other than Einstein and myself understand it, the theory of relativity. E = mc2: that simply means that the energy of any given object equals its mass times the speed of light squared. Doesn’t that make perfect sense? Now E stands for energy in ergs. M stands for mass in grams. That’s why it’s called M. And C stands for the velocity of light in centimeters per second. Now what this all means is that a small amount of mass is able to produce a tremendous amount of energy - that is, for example, in nuclear fission. Now Einstein said this, and I want you to listen to it. He said the reason that he was able to construct and write down the theory of relativity is because there is one thing, and one alone, in the world that is constant and cannot change. It’s the speed of light - the speed of light - 186,282 miles per second. He says that’s constant. Everything else is relative. The only thing that is constant in our universe is light. And Jesus, in the spiritual realm, is the one constant. He is light, and He does not change.

Now, let me illustrate the constancy of light and relativity. If I get in my automobile out here on Interstate 40, and I’m driving at fifty miles an hour this way; and you’re in your automobile, and you’re driving at fifty miles this way; when we pass each other, the relative speed is what? One hundred miles an hour. That’s relative speed. I’m going fifty. You’re going fifty. That’s the relative speed. Now, if I’m going fifty, and you pull up alongside of me, and you’re going sixty, then, relatively, to me, you’re going ten miles an hour. That’s your relative speed to my speed, you see? Everything there is, is relative.

But now, suppose I highjack a light beam, and I’m on a light beam. I’ve got that thing saddled, and so I’m traveling now at 186,282 miles per second. That’s fast. That’s around the world seven times in one second. I’m traveling that way. I am traveling at the speed of light. Now, let’s suppose you get a light beam, and you’re going the opposite direction. You’re traveling 186,282 miles a second. You’re going this way, and I’m going that way. We pass. How do we pass? We pass at the speed of light. Now, is the relative speed double? No. It’s constant. You don’t double that. It doesn’t change. Relatively, it’s not twice 186,000 miles per second. The thing that changes then is not speed, but time - time. You see? The faster you get to the speed of light, the more time slows down. And if you were to achieve the speed of light, time would stand still.

Now, think about it. One day, we’re going to achieve the speed of light. I mean, God is light. Christ is light. One day, we’re going to be made just like the Lord Jesus. You know, right now, the Bible says, “He dwells in light that no man can approach unto.” (1 Timothy 6:16) But one day, when we see Him, we’ll be like Him. We’ll be transformed into His perfect image. And for us time will stand still. We’ll be in eternity. Time will stand still. We will have gone from time to eternity, because we are like the Lord Jesus Christ. But think about those in hell. For them, time slows down. They’re in darkness. Through the eons of the ages - endless, timeless, dateless, measureless - they’re in hell. And the Bible says, “They have no rest day nor night,” (Revelation 14:11) those who are away from our Lord. You see? He is constant. The speed of light is constant, and it tells us of the Lord Jesus, not only because of the purity of that light, but the constancy of that light. Let me give you two verses. Malachi chapter 3, verse 6: “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) Let me give you another one - Hebrews 13, verse 8: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8) In a world of change, isn’t it wonderful there’s One who will not change? And His name is Jesus. He’s the Light of the World.

I heard a preacher preach a while back, and he said something that just tickled me all over. He said, “You can’t make God nervous.” I love that. Oh, there’s no panic in heaven. Friend, He does not change, and He sees the beginning from the end. We sing it, Brother Jim:

Great is thy faithfulness, O God, my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!  - THOMAS O. CHISHOLM

III. The Victory of the Light

But I want you to think about a third thing about this light. I want you to think not only about the purity of it - Jesus Christ, absolutely pure, cannot be defiled; He can touch sin, but sin cannot touch Him; He can expose sin, but sin cannot defile Him - think of the constancy of this light - He never changes - the third thing I want you to think about - I’m so grateful that He is described as light, that little baby that was born - and that’s not only the purity of that light, and the constancy of that light, but the victory of that light - the victory of that light. Look, if you will, in verses 3 through 5: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:3–5)

Now, what does that mean? Does it mean the darkness didn’t understand the light? That’s the way we would that’s what the normal meaning of “the darkness comprehended it not” would be. But I looked this up in a number of different translations yesterday, and here are three that I want to share with you: “The darkness has not overcome it: Here’s another: “The darkness cannot put it out.” Here’s another translation: “The darkness can never extinguish it.” What it’s talking about here is the victory of this light. Here’s the history of a battle between light and darkness. That’s what it’s all about. Everything - there’s a battle between light and darkness.

Satan, his name is Lucifer. It means light bearer. But Satan turned against God, and sinned against the light, and now no longer is he the light bearer - Lucifer, the son of the morning - He is now become Satan, the father of the night. And there’s a darkness - a dark, devilish darkness - that is at battle with the light.

I want to ask you a question: Who must win? As night follows day, and day follows night, it is as clear as the light of the noonday sun: darkness has no power against light. Now, you think about it. Darkness has absolutely no power against light. It is totally powerless against the light. If you’re in a dark room, and you want to get the darkness out, how would you get the darkness out? Could you take a vacuum cleaner and suck it out? Could you take a shovel and shovel it out? Could you take a broom and sweep it out? How would you get the darkness out of that room? Turn on the light. Now, when you turn on the light, where does the darkness go? It flees. It goes under the bed. It goes in the closet. It goes out. It cannot stay. It is totally powerless against the light. Say amen. I want you to think about it. You say, “That’s a simple thought.” It’s a glorious thought! It’s a glorious thought! The darkness can’t put out the light. Light has come into the world. That’s the whole thing.

You think of the sun - how bright the sun is, incredibly bright! I’m talking about the sun - in the natural world, so powerful! The energy on the sun is indescribable. The sun radiates more energy in one second than man has used in the history of civilization, or ever will use. Four million tons of hydrogen are destroyed every second in a nuclear explosion on the sun. Four million tons of nuclear bombs are going off every second on the sun. On the brightest moonlit night, the light of the moon is only one eight hundred thousandth as bright as an ordinary sun - ­shiny day. To look into the face of the sun is to put your eyes out. But that’s only a faint illustration of the Son of God and His brightness.

The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy chapter 6, verse 16 - it speaks of our Lord, “who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto.” (1 Timothy 6:16) We put a man on the moon. Friend, we’ll never put one on the sun. But that is only an illustration of the glory, the power, of our great God. It’s the victory of this light.

Now, let me tell you something about this light. Every now and then, in the natural world, we say, “Well, the sun didn’t shine today.” That’s a lie, isn’t it? If you’ve ever ridden in an airplane, you know better than that. Are you kidding? An overcast, foggy, clammy, cold day, and you get on that plane, and it bumps a little bit, and all of a sudden, poof. You know, it’s dazzling bright. Down beneath are all the clouds. The sun’s been shining.

And, friend, I want to tell you something. You can block out the light, but you can’t put it out. You can’t put it out. I mean, there is victory; and rather than praying so much against the powers of darkness, what we need to be doing is realizing the power of light. What we need to be doing is to release the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to bear witness of that light. Think of Jesus, the Light of the World. Think of His purity. Think of His constancy. Think of His victory. The darkness can’t put out the light. Friend, you can walk in a room and turn on the light, but you cannot walk in one and turn on the darkness. The only thing that can let the darkness in is for the light to be blocked out.

IV. The Vitality of the Light

Now, here’s a fourth thing I want you to notice about Jesus, the Light of the world. I hope this will bless you as much as all this has blessed me when I studied it. But you think about His purity. He cannot be defiled. He can expose, but He cannot be defiled. He’s in the world, but not of the world. Think about His constancy. He never changes. Think, friend, about His victory. The darkness can never extinguish the light. And then, think with me about His vitality. He is the One who gives life.

Now, look, if you will, here in this same passage of Scripture, in verse 4: “In him…” - that is, in Jesus, in Bethlehem’s babe - “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4) That’s the vitality - the vitality of this light. Light and life are inextricably interwoven. You cannot have life unless you have light. When God wanted to bring light, or life, to a chaos, and make it a cosmos. In Genesis 1, He said, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3) And when the light came, the seas began to swarm with life, and the trees and the seeds began to bud and blossom and grow.

I’ve always loved natural science, and I can remember back in the fourth grade the first big word that I ever really locked in on, that enthralled me when my teacher told me about it, was the word photosynthesis. Do you remember studying that word, photosynthesis? And the teacher told us there in that class - I was amazed; I was enthralled by it - she said, “The word photo means ‘light,’ and synthesis means ‘to put together.’ And,” she said, “growing things are put together with light: photosynthesis.”

Now light causes these plants to produce chlorophyll, and the whole life chain is built upon the sunlight. If you were to take the sunlight away from this world, our world would become cold and dark and dead. It’s like a man without Jesus. He’s cold and dark and dead. When Jesus comes into the world, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

Oh, friend, that’s the vitality of this life. You want your life put back together? It will be put back together with light. There is a divine photosynthesis when “the entrance of thy Word brings light.” (Psalm 119:130) And Jesus is the light; and your cold, dark, dead, clammy world will be put back together when the glorious light of the Son of God shines into your heart. Thank God, there will be a sunrise of the soul. Jesus said, “I’ve come that you might have life, that you might have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

There’s no life without light. When Adam sinned, what happened in the Garden of Eden? God was living in Adam; but when Adam sinned, the Lord went out; and when the Lord went out, the life went out; and when the life went out, the light went out. So, when the Lord went out, he’s depraved; and when the light - the life - went out, he’s dead; and when the light went out, he’s darkened. When you get saved, the Lord comes back in, turns the light on, the life begins again. Jesus is the Light of the World. That little babe in Bethlehem turned the light on and gave us a place to land. “Just give us one light.” Well, God has, my friend. He has.

V. The Glory of the Light

There’s one other thing I want you to see, and I’ll be finished. I want you to think not only of the vitality of this light, but I want you to think now of the glory of this light - the glory of it. Look, if you will, in verse 14 now: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Do you know what glory is? That’s the outshining of the light of His grace and truth. It’s the Shekinah. It’s the light of God that’s in the Jesus Christ. Oh, the glory of this light!

Now we have lights in this building. This is artificial illumination. Thank God for it - but it can never match the purity of sunlight. How much greater is the purity of the light of the Lord Jesus! Did you know that there is a spectrum? There are seven colors that comprise the spectrum of light. All light is made up of color. There are seven colors in the spectrum. And what do they remind us of? Jesus, the Light of the World, who is what? Absolutely perfect! God is perfect. And so this light with seven colors, the spectrum, reminds us of the perfection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But put all of those together, and the color is pure white - pure white - which speaks of the holiness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now what we need to understand is that color is in light. Objects don’t have any color of themselves. The color is in the light. Did you know that? That anything that you wear, anything that you have… You say, “Well, this lady down here has on a red coat.” No. She has a coat that picks up red out of the light. The color is not in the coat. The color is in the light. The most gorgeous bouquet in the world, if you take away the light, it has no color. There is no color. You don’t turn on the light so you can see the color. The color is not there without the light. The color is in the light. Jesus is the One that makes everything glorious, and then He helps us to see what He’s made glorious. He is the glory of God. Friend, Christ is the One who gives glory and joy and victory. He’s the One who makes this world beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I feel sorry for people who’ve never seen the light. You don’t know the beauties that I know. I don’t know how to say what I’m about to say. It’s not in my notes, but I’ll tell you something, friend. If you don’t know Jesus, I know something you don’t know, and I see things you don’t see - and they’re wonderful. Now you may be a Christian and not see them because you’re in the twilight zone - I mean, you’re walking in carnality. Oh, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Oh, the glory of that light! Oh, the multifaceted splendors! He is everything in the spectrum put together. And He is the One that makes all things beautiful. The glory of that light! The Light of the World is Jesus.


Now I’m finished, but let me say this. The sad thing is this: that many neglect or refuse that light. Look again in verses 9 and following: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” You want to be saved? He’s there for you, friend. But notice this: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:9–12)

Why do some men blot out the light? Why will not some people receive the Lord Jesus Christ? Well, let me tell you something here. Turn with me to John chapter 3 for just a moment. Look in verse 16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” God doesn’t want you to go to hell. If you go to hell, you’ll have to trample over the bloodstained cross of Jesus to get there. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:16–20)

That’s it. You say, “Pastor, I just don’t see it.” That’s right. You don’t see it, because you’re blind. But a blind man would be a foolish person to deny the light because he can’t see it. And the reason that some can’t see is they don’t want to see. They can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman. If you want Him, I’m here to tell you - look at me and listen to me - light is come into the world. Light was born in Bethlehem. His name is Jesus. He’s the Light of the World. And I’ll tell you right now, if you’ll open your heart and receive Him as the Lord Jesus Christ, He will pull back the veil of darkness, pin it with a star of hope, and flood your world with the sunlight. And you will see things and know things that you could never know without Him. And He’ll never leave you nor forsake you, because He changes not.