Jesus is the Light of the World
Topic: Christmas Passage: John 1:1–1:13
Yesterday I heard about a bumper sticker that says, eschew obfuscation. If you don’t know what that means, it’s a confusing way of saying avoid confusion. Here we are less than two weeks away from Christmas and we are surrounded by all the sights and sounds of Christmas: the songs, the lights, Christmas trees, the gifts. And I love all of that, but it’s so easy to get so caught up in the activities of Christmas that we lose sight of the meaning of Christmas. I appreciate our children reminding us and in the next few minutes I want us to be reminded through God’s word who Jesus is and why he came, and it is my goal to eschew obfuscation. I want to keep it simple and clear. Let’s give full attention as we read God’s word.
John 1:1-5; 9-13
In his gospel, John doesn’t say anything about Mary or Joseph or baby Jesus born in a stable. Instead John begins with a mind-boggling theological truth about Jesus that is essential for us to know if we’re going to understand who Jesus is and why he came. John echoes the opening words of Genesis 1– in the beginning God created the heavens and earth – to let us know that Jesus was with God in the beginning (before time began) and was God. Everything created was created through him and nothing was created without him. At Christmastime we celebrate Jesus the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, entering the world as a man. God come to earth as a man.
And the reason Jesus came is found in vv. 4-5:
Jesus came to bring the light of life to a death-darkened world
I. Jesus is the light of life (vv. 1-5)
Odds are that some of us are going to get at least one gift that you will have no use for. We all know what it’s like to open a gift and you want to look grateful but you can’t help wonder: what do I do with this?
• A 10 lb fruitcake or a CD of Liberace playing all your favorite Def Leppard songs. And you’re gonna wonder, “what do I do with this?”
Someone might wonder that about what Jesus came to bring. The light of life. What do I need that for? I am alive; I talk and laugh and cry and work and play and live. But the life Jesus came to bring is different than the life that we see in the people at the mall or at work or on the street. We are alive…and dead. Spiritually dead – because of sin we are born dead to God and under His judgment. The Bible says no one is righteous, no not one. This world is in spiritual darkness – we are spiritually blind – which is why God can seem unimportant to us and the stock market can seem very important to us. We can’t see what we can’t see.
Jesus came to bring the light of God to sin-sick souls. He opened blind eyes and he taught about God his Father and he healed the sick and called the outcasts to follow him and he died on the cross to pay for the sins of all who trust in him.
Spiritual life brings sight to our souls – we see the worth of Christ. We see how much we need God. We see truth. Jesus came to bring the light of life to a death-darkened world. And the darkness cannot overcome the light. Darkness and light are opposites but they aren’t equal opposites. You can turn on a light, and even a small light shines in a lot of darkness. But you can’t turn on the darkness. Darkness can’t overcome light. Darkness is the absence of light – let there be light, and the darkness is overcome. So the light of Christ cannot be overcome by the darkness of the world. His light will always shine. But that doesn’t mean that his light won’t be refused by many.
II. Many will reject the light (vv. 9-11)
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born a prophet named Isaiah predicted the coming of the Messiah. In chapter 53 he opens with these words:
Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been
revealed? …3He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with
grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
He was despised and rejected by men. Jesus made the world, but the world would reject him. Jesus was the God of the OT who called Israel and set them apart as a nation for God – but when he came to them they would reject him. To this day many will reject him because they prefer the darkness to light.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. John 3:19 (ESV)
Jesus is the true light but people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Guilty consciences hate the light because exposes sin. Secrecy is one of the forms the darkness comes in.
ILL: Jean Ann Cone had a secret. It was a secret she kept for many years from her millionaire husband Doug Cone. She had a secret fund called the Cone Charity, and when people wanted to adopt animals but couldn’t afford it, she told the veterinarians to charge it to the Cone Charity. Just don’t tell Doug.
But Doug had a secret of his own that didn’t come out until shortly after Jean died. For nearly 30 years Doug Cone had lived a double life – having two families living less than 20 miles apart from each other. Neither family knew anything of the existence of the other family. No one guessed how much Doug Cone was hiding in darkness.
The Bible says that the human heart is wicked and deceitful above all things. We all hide things in the dark. Everyone of us. If there were a way to shine the light on everything you have ever done, ever thought, or ever said, so that everyone could see it clearly how would you feel? If every motive and every desire of your heart were exposed for all to see, would you welcome it?
Jesus said, this is the judgment…one day no one will be able to hide from the light. Jesus didn’t come to judge us, but to save us. And that brings us to the great good news that is in this passage and is the great good news we celebrate at Christmas.
III. Everyone who receives Jesus becomes a child of God (vv. 12-13)
Because of sin we are born into spiritual darkness and death, but by receiving Christ by faith we are born again as children of God into eternal life. This is what it means by the “light of life” – sin separated us from God, Christ reconciles us to God, making us sons and daughters of God.
Only Christ could ever accomplish this. Our best works could never earn heaven for us but Christ, by dying in our place and paying for our sins makes it possible for us to come to the light and not be judged by it, but forgiven by God. We are born again, not by flesh, or will of man, but by the will of God. Through Christ God saves us, adopts us, transfers us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son He loves.
Who is Jesus and what did he come to do? John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Christmas is so much more than a baby in a manger. Christmas is a Savior given to a dark world so that all who trust in him might have the light of life – and it calls for a response from every one of us. Many will refuse the light, but many will come to the light and be saved.
What is your response to Jesus? Will you receive him or will you refuse him? Will you say “I don’t need him, I don’t need a Savior”? Or will you believe in Him and ask him to save you, forgive you, and make you a child of God? He offers that right now if you have never before received Christ.
I pray that if you have never received Christ as your Savior and Lord, you won’t leave here today without doing so. If you have any questions, I would love to talk with you after the service. If you are still searching, God will be faithful to help lead you to Himself. But please don’t put off this decision. To ignore Christ is to reject him.
Let this be the Christmas where he is truly your Savior and Lord. Pray with me.