I love the morning light. In morning light I can see well, but in evening light, I have difficulty seeing. Morning light cheers me, awakens me, and makes me want to get up and get going. Conversely, a gray sky will darken my spirits and I have to fight my mood to arise with a smile.
In the morning light, I have taken the best pictures of any time. Most photographers and artists are aware of this phenomenon. Direct sunlight causes us to have to adjust everything on our cameras and color palette. So I enjoy getting out, when the dew is still breaking into beads of mirrors along the spider webs, to take photos, exercise, or clear my head and plan my day - When the light is new, and causing the world around me to awaken.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the way light has such an effect on our lives. And I have been thinking of how Jesus used light to describe his Godliness. Not his righteousness. His being God side - not his being a man side. “I am the light of the world,” he said in John. 8:12.
We know Jesus spoke to people in terms of things they already knew. I have always loved that about his ministry, because it made his teachings relatable to children as well as adults. The simple truth is the real truth. Yet certain things he spoke about, from God’s standpoint, have incredibly intricate, unimaginable depths in truth. Light is one of those things.
The people, of Jesus’ day, knew light by the sun, moon, stars, fire; their knowledge about the science of light was limited. And yet it made just as good a “type picture” for the saints of old as for us today, who are more science minded individuals. We - who think we have harnessed light - who use it almost without thought of its source - who are not bound by day and night, but go 24 hours a day. WE don’t quite understand the impact that speaking about light would have on the audience of Jesus’ day. Light was precious to them. So, does the typology of light still apply to us today? Sure it does. Jesus knew that it was a subject that whether spoken of thousands of years BC, or AD, LIGHT would carry the same point of reference in the minds of any seeking what God was like. Jesus totally knew how very much God was like the light.
Most of the time, discussions about light revolve around the “camera/picture” benefits. In short, it makes you able to see things more clearly. Things that are lit may be captured by our brains with a certain clarity, with understanding. We get better mental pictures, clearer images of who God is and how he functions. But as science minded people, we can add some visualizations to that “type” that our forefathers might not have.
A rainbow for instance:
They had rainbows and perhaps, in Jesus’ day, they even had opportunity to see something crystalline break the sun’s rays into a rainbow. I don’t’ think they were stupid. They, of course, knew that the sun caused an arc of colors after the storms. But did they actually understand that the rainbow was light being broken into its spectrum of colors and why? That white light is made of many colors of light? One thing they would have known was that darkness was the absence of that light. And while watching a fire burn, they would have seen the flames break into myriads of hues on the color bands. Did they understand that light being bent/reflected in different directions and speeds was pretty much the same thing causing colors in the fire as well as colors in the rainbow? Did they relate to the fact that God is like that? I wonder if anyone watching a fire ever thought, “If God is like the light in this fire, then He is a colorful God.” He is warm, like the red flame, and cold and refreshing like the freshly fallen snow. God is a God of many hues and varied depths of those hues. God is able to affect our moods, enliven our world, paint in our imaginations, and bring vision to the darkest parts of our inner soul. Color in itself, as an element of light is a huge area on which to expand about the enormity of God.
Let’s go deeper. Light is also an empowering energy. In order to be viewed, it must enter our eyes and be focused on the lens, be converted into energy impulses in our head that are converted to an image. Like in a camera. Can you understand that this is a "picture type" of the indwelling and work of the Holy Spirit? He must be allowed to enter through the shutter of our heart’s door, into the place where our soul dwells. The image of God is then both imprinted on our souls, and reflected from our souls, so we may be seen as being like him. You see, understanding light is why we can have a camera in the first place. And the truth is - God is even more like the picture of what light is, than those listening to Jesus would have ever understood.
Does it say something to your heart that anyone who denies there is a God, can’t possibly know about God? Jesus understood everything about light. His God side understood that the illustration was powerful through and through. We know enough about light now to know how fast it travels. Jesus already knew that. We know enough about light to know that we cannot go any faster than light. There is a barrier there for now. Jesus knew that. We now know that after things get to going about the speed of light, they disappear for us, on the most complicated equipment. Jesus already knew and understood that what God had created had as much to do with his spiritual realm as it does for our physical realm. God knew that light traveled for millions of miles. God knew that humans would need the light of stars and moon to not be lost in the presence of darkness. Otherwise we would not have eyes.
How do I know that Jesus knew? Because he used the things of creation to describe God to us. Jesus knew the enormity of God. How better to tell us that he knows the creator than to illustrate him in his creation. To use something bigger than us to be able to say, “God is Bigger, than everything we can figure out about Him.” He is bigger than all the knowledge we will have in two thousand more years. The more we learn about light, the more we have opportunity to understand Him. The more there is to realize we really don’t know everything we thought we knew about God. How much more WE should be held responsible for not seeing Him as bigger than anything we can stick into our mental God Box. I challenge you to stretch the visual image you have of God.
Thank you God, for illustrations that are so simple that even when the complexities of your creation stretch our imagination, we can still see you in the truth. Help us see you the way Jesus tried to help us envision you. Amen
Then, spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12
I would love for our readers to expand on - “WHAT LIGHT IS” - as food for thought. As a comment here or on our Facebook page, tell us what light is to you, which might evoke a sense of the “light of Life” of which Jesus spoke.
Example: “Light can be focused, and expanded.” Therefore, it is flexible, and can be a tool.