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Still the Light of the World (published in The Tribune, 1/22/11)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:16 PM by Fccea Webmaster
Ian's wife began labor in the middle of the Scottish night, and the doctor was called. He tasked Ian: "Hold this lantern high so I can see." Shortly Ian's son was born. "Whoa, there, Ian!" said the doctor. "Keep the lantern up!" Soon a little lass made her appearance. Ian stooped to look. "No, no, keep the lantern up, lad! There's more!" cried the doctor. Ian scratched his head and asked, "Do ye think it's the light that's attractin' em?"

That story reminds me of Jesus' statement in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world." That's quite a statement when you think about it. The light? Of the whole world? What's that about?

Jesus explains, "Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness." Darkness, of course, represents sin. Jesus is saying, "Follow me, and you won't have to walk in sin."

Light's main attribute is to reveal the true nature of things. It reveals dangers of which we would otherwise be unaware; it also reveals solutions. As the light of the world, Jesus does both.

Morally, light is the equivalent of truth. It reveals reality. The light of Jesus' life reveals our sinful condition and need of salvation. The light of His death reveals the gift of grace, the one and only answer to moral brokenness. So simple yet, not so simple.

Light creates a problem for many. Jesus describes the problem in John 3:19, "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil."

In Jesus' day people fled the light, unwilling to acknowledge their moral delinquency. Today, we still fear the light. But rather than flee it, we deny that it even exists. There is no light to be had.

College campuses are rife with the teaching that there is no absolute truth -- no real light. All is relative. If what you believe helps you, great. But my truth is as valid as your truth. The latest surveys suggest that 2/3 of us do not believe there is such a thing as absolute truth.

In Dan Brown's wildly popular book, The Da Vinci Code, Sophie says, "You told me the New Testament is based on fabrication." Langdon, the book's hero, says, "Sophie every faith in the world is based on fabrication." Translation: there is no absolute truth.
But, of course, the statement "there is no absolute truth", is itself a statement of absolute truth! It fails by its own definition.
Furthermore, no one actually lives like there are are no absolutes. Someone asks Henry's mother, "Where's Henry?" "I'm not sure," she replies. "If the ice is as thick as he thinks, he's skating. If it's as thin as I think it is, he's swimming." The point is, both can't be true.

There is not Henry's truth and Mom's truth -- there is absolute truth to which both must ultimately concede. Henry is either skating or swimming -- but not both.

When someone says, "Stop, a car is coming," we stop. It's not just his truth or my truth. It's absolute truth. And we know exactly what will happen if we don't stop -- regardless of how hard we believe to the contrary.

To our relative age, Jesus still says, "I am still the light of the world." He still shows us reality -- the reality of our sin and brokenness, and the reality of His grace and healing. He shows us the truth.

Jesus said, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32). Let His light draw you and find the freedom of cleansing from sin.

Dave McNeff is pastor of the First Congregational Church of Eaton and Ault