Have you noticed that it is possible to miss an immediate meaning by looking for a deeper one? I want to show you an immediate meaning of Jesus’ phrase “I am the light of the world” which you can take to work with you this week.
How many times have you felt under time pressure? You’ve been asked to do something by a certain day and it begins to dawn on you that the deadline is looming. This stressor has many faces. It can be slow acting, affecting you every day or hour, it can explode in your mind in a sudden realization. It can keep you awake at night or make you wake up too early in the morning.
It can produce a cold sweat or hot flush but, whatever its face, it evokes pressure in your life and work.
I’m going to suggest to you something that must be true of the Son of Man. At some point in his life he must have become acutely aware of the timing of his own death. He certainly knew where and how he would die for he regularly prepared his disciples for the events. He must also at some point have known “when”.
Here, yet again, we tread carefully into the holy ground of his inner life, but we are not in any way diminishing his divinity by saying that at some point in his journey from baby to rabbi he became acutely aware of the timing of his death.
Literally, the Son of Man knew he had a deadline.
Now go back to his words on “Light”. Read his lines. “While I am in the world I am the light of the world”. It speaks of time limits and of deadlines.
Wrapped around these words he explains that he must work now because day will turn to darkness, when no one can work.
So the Son of Man is acutely aware that he is has been sent to do a job of work, AND, he is acutely aware that there is a deadline. He knows that there will be a global project after his death, but he also knows that this project will not be possible unless he does his job of work now.
One way he describes his job is to be the light while the opportunity remains. Between now and his death he must enlighten his disciples with an understanding of themselves, their world and their mission. He must show them the Father in a new way. He must implant in them sufficient training so that when the Spirit arrives at Pentecost he will be able to take their lights and shine them all over the world.
So two immediate meanings emerge which will help you understand your Lord, the Son of Man at a deeper level. First, he became aware of his time pressure, in other words he was a light for his own journey. His inner light showed him that he had limited time to do his work.
Second, that realization inspired him to work hard to be the Light of the world. His “I Am” energized him to discharge his “I do”.
This week you can be sure that, when you face deadlines the Son of Man understands your pressure and is right there with you.
He is also inviting you to let your light shine as you work hard to meet those deadlines.
We will look at this light again and live by its rays as we walk.
4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
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