Exodus 10:21–23, Mark 4:21–25, John 5:31–35 (read online ⧉)
Jesus is the Light of the world. While Jesus bringing salvation and eternal life was light, being the spiritual light was part of Jesus’ very being. As he was one with the Father and Holy Spirit, and as God is the giver of spiritual light, and the creator of light, then saying Jesus is the Light of the world misses other times when God made light as a symbol of salvation.
The “adventure” of the 10 plagues was nearing is zenith. The “plague” of darkness, like a number of the other plagues, only affected the Egyptians, and left the Hebrews in Goshen alone. Just as with those plagues, God was separating the Hebrews from the Egyptians. God was making a point. While this is only a single “plague”, it still shows that light can be associated with God. In fact, some use the sun as symbolic representation of the Trinity (though there are significant theological issues with that if used poorly or scientifically).
From a scientific standpoint, without the sun, there would be no biological life. The sun with its heat and light are essential to the well-being of all life on the planet. With God, the spiritual light, there is no life of God within us. So, what do we say to those who do not believe in God? The Image of God is within them, and they can deny it all they want. We all have just a touch of God’s light.
When we read the passage in Mark, we often associate “the light” with light of salvation that is inside us, because of a similar passage in Matthew 5. Yet, is that really what Mark thinks Jesus is talking about? Different Gospel writers can have different understandings of what happened, just as we see in trials where witnesses are called. There is a reason you have more than 1 or 2 witnesses. What if, instead of our light, Mark believes Jesus is talking about God’s light? Yes, it is a nuanced difference. However, many people do seem to be trying to quench the light of God.
There is also a truth that Jesus conveys in John. Often people are attracted to the light, but only because it is bright and shiny. Businesses, churches, construction crews, concert teams, and many others use bright lights to catch your attention. The hope is to draw you in. The bright and shiny lights only work so long though. Eventually, you have to commit to something.
1) What, if anything, is the difference between God’s light and God’s light in you?
2) In Matthew 5, Jesus talks about hiding our light. If Mark is talking about hiding God’s light, what do these passages tell us about people and God? How can encourage people to not hide the light?
3) Why do you think people hide the light? Can you think of deeper reasons for that?
Action: Look for something in your life that is hiding the light, and uncover it.