Jesus Christ is described in the Bible as the “light of the world;” the One who will overcome darkness (John 8:12). Jesus extended the same title to His followers, saying “You are the light of the world” (Matt:5:14); an awesome responsibility indeed! The good news is that Jesus empowers His followers to shine and dispel darkness due to doubt and wayward living. Jesus shines through us as we work for truth, justice, peace and reconciliation with God and one another.
The Bible refers widely to light and darkness. In the Genesis creation account, darkness was linked with the idea of chaos and confusion (Genesis 1:1–3). When God created light, by His creative Word, the universe became a hospitable, viable place for life. At times, God’s presence and power is described in terms of illumination – for example, the people who walked in darkness see a great light (Isaiah 9:2). Yet, there are instances where God’s presence is spoken of in terms of darkness (Ex. 20:21; Deut. 5:23), a reference which is probably best understood in terms of human inability to fully grasp the reality of God.
Darkness is an image of doubt, linked with the inability to see properly, and hence failure to gain full understanding of unfolding events. Doubt often arises when we are unable to understand God’s mysterious workings and presence within the world. Light shines forth to abolish doubt.
Darkness is also a symbol of wayward life. Human waywardness sets a barrier between God and humanity, so that we neither know nor honour God. Spiritual blindness is often linked with slavery to wayward living. However, we do not have to live in bondage to darkness. The grace of God and the practice of spiritual disciplines are channels of obtaining spiritual illumination. The Word of God and Holy Spirit of God illuminates us to live a vibrant life and shine bright.