You Are the Light of the World

A meditation by Michael Pahl on February 9, 2020, called “You Are the Light of the World.” It’s a reflection on Jesus as “the light of the world” in John 8:12, who also calls his followers “the light of the world” in Matthew 5:14. The story is published on Michael’s writing blog here.

Here is a written excerpt from the introduction:

In John 8:12 Jesus declares, “I am the light of the world.”

He is the light of God that comes into the world and dispels the world’s darkness. The nighttime of the world’s violence and injustice, pain and suffering—this nighttime is passing, and the darkness cannot overcome the dawn of God’s kingdom in Jesus, the sun of righteousness rising with healing in its wings.

The story before Jesus’ declaration gives one example of how this light dispels the darkness.

A group of powerful men bring a woman before Jesus, a woman caught in the act of adultery. According to the Law of Moses, Leviticus 20:10, both she and her equally adulterous partner were to be put to death. Conveniently, the man has been left behind—or maybe he’s actually among them, hiding among the self-righteous.

Jesus confronts these powerful men, these Really Religious men, with their own sin—gouging their consciences to dig out the logs in their own eyes. One by one they drop their stones and leave. To the woman Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go on your way, and sin no more.”

In Matthew 5:14 Jesus declares, “You are the light of the world.” You, and me, us—Jesus’ followers.

In other words, we are to live in the world in the way of Jesus, shining the light of God in the nighttime of our world. We are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, confronting injustice and hypocrisy in power, doling out forgiveness in heaping quantities, calling forth the best from each person, to walk in God’s way of holy love.

Do not hide these things, Jesus said. Shine them out for the world to see!

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