Light is often used to describe good things. Light describes truth (Psalm 43:3; Ephesians 5:9). Light describes God’s word (Psalms 119:105, 130). Light describes goodness (Proverbs 15:30; Ephesians 5:9). Light describes deliverance and redemption (Luke 1:79). Light also describes Jesus (John 8:12; John 12:35, 36; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Light is a good thing and an oft topic in Scripture.
We do not think much about light until we lose it. We don’t think about light bulbs until they fail. We don’t think about the power grid until a storms plunges us into darkness. When light is gone we are suddenly confronted with the necessity of light. No one intentionally walks through treacherous terrain at night without some kind of light. Uneven ground, holes, rocks, roots and more hide in darkness and bring danger to the traveler. We need physical light.
Light is necessary for life. When God created light on the first day of creation and then the Sun and Moon on the fourth day, he provided a required element for almost all plants and animals. A garden does not grow well unless it has some sunlight fr
om which to draw energy. Nature needs physical light.
Light is also required for our spiritual life. The spirit of man is not fed by food like the physical body (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4) but instead by spiritual things (c.f. 1Corinthians 2:12-16). In the same way, the light the man’s spirit needs is not that generated by physical things like the Sun, but by Jesus Himself. We need spiritual light as desperately as a home garden needs sunshine. We die without the light of God’s word.
Jesus is the light of our life. He alone illumines the way to God (John 14:1-7). The writer of Hebrews explains the important role of Jesus when he says that Jesus is the one who has entered heaven as a “forerunner” for us (Hebrews 6:19). We could not find the way on our own nor were we powerful enough, sinless enough or worthy enough to blaze the trail for ourselves, not to mention for others too. A forerunner not only goes ahead but he also marks the way for those who follow. Jesus, as our light, has done exactly that.
Isaiah says it this way:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2).
Jesus is our light. It is Jesus who guides us into salvation. Near the very end of the Old Testament, just as a prophetic silence was about to fall upon the people for 400 years, God makes some promises. He speaks of victory and freedom. This time is associated with the coming of Jesus and his messenger John (Malachi 4:5). He says:
“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2).
There can be no one else of whom the prophet speaks but Jesus. The Christ is the “sun of righteousness” who heals. He is light and he has shone upon us to heal us from sin and the dominion of the devil. Jesus is light and there is no darkness in the Son (2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 John 1:5).