In John 8:12 Jesus tells His listeners, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Greek word that is translated as light has multiple meanings. It can be as simple as light that we see from a lamp or flashlight to God’s glory that surrounds the angels when they appear on earth or was on Moses’ face, when he came down off the mountain after meeting with God for forty days. It can also be a metaphor for truth and knowledge. Given the context that Jesus is saying this after the scene where the religious leaders were going to stone the women caught in the act of adultery, this seems to have more to do with God’s glory that dispels spiritual darkness.
The Greek word translated as “life” also has many meanings, but again, due to context, the one that seems to fit best is absolute fullness of life, real life, genuine life devoted to God, blessed life. So, if when Jesus said that those who follow Him will have the “light of life”, He was likely saying that we would have a glorious life. That we would be filled with God’s light, His glory and that would produce a life devoted to Him, rather than to the darkness or the world.
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we receive Him into our Spirit in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, so His light actually enters us and can then shine out from us. This is why, in Matthew 5:14, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” While Jesus walked the earth, He was the light, but when He ascended into heaven, He gave the light to us and we have the choice of whether to shine or not. That is why Jesus went on in the last part of verse 14 to say that we shouldn’t hide our light under a basket. He was saying to allow the light to shine through, so those who are walking in darkness can see.
I’ve always viewed us to be like lighthouses. A lighthouse is built on a bluff overlooking the ocean and it’s light would guide ship captains away from dangerous places and into the safe harbor. We are to allow the light of Jesus to shine through us to guide people away from sinful activities that will destroy their life and lead them to eternity away from God. Our light is also to guide them to the safe harbor of Jesus and to eternal salvation.
It’s easy to shine your light at church each week, but how about at home, work, in your neighborhood and community? Most of the people at a church service, already have the light of Jesus. It’s those who are out in the world who need to see your light. So, go and shine brightly!