Why Do We Want Jesus' Light?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
We all know John 3:16. We probably learned it early in life, and it is the only memory verse from my K-1st class that I still remember learning at that time. But since it starts with the word “for”, we know that we see it out of context. What does it actually mean? Looking into this will take us on a journey encompassing approximately 6000 years, from the beginning in the garden of Eden, to the time of Moses, to when Jesus said those famous words, to application in our life today.
This quotation comes up in Jesus’ discussion with a Pharisee, Nicodemus. Jesus tells him that he must be born again to see the kingdom of God, but Nicodemus, thinking physically, does not understand what Jesus means or his explanation. Jesus then says, “No one has ascended into heaven except he who has descended from heaven, the Son of Man, And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:13-15) This references back to Numbers 21, where the Israelites, to no one’s surprise, start complaining again. God sends fiery serpents to destroy them, but in verses 8-9 says, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” Israelites complained – we sinned. Israelites were bitten by fiery snakes – we were separated from God. Bronze serpent was put on a pole – Jesus was crucified. Israelites were healed if they looked at the serpent – we are forgiven, if we look to Jesus. There is where John 3:16 comes in.
Jesus elaborates further on this after John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16-21) Jesus says that, like the bronze serpent, he came to save, not to destroy. But Jesus also acknowledges that the darkness is in the world, and that he came to drive out the darkness, and only those who want the light will go to him.
Do we want Jesus’ light? In John 8:12, Jesus says “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jesus says later in John 12:35, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.” Jesus is the light, but man brought in darkness from his sin. God sent Jesus down to become the light of the world, healing not just physical sicknesses, but also healing spiritual sicknesses by forgiving sins.
Why do we want Jesus? In John 6, Jesus feeds 5000 people who had been following him, just by multiplying a few loaves of bread. They tried to make him king, but for the wrong reasons. Jews resented the Romans, and they see Jesus as the perfect tool for an uprising. He can multiply bread, why not weapons? He can heal them after any battle, feed them as much as they want, perform miracles to speed an army across the land. Jesus addresses this in John 6:26, plainly saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father set his seal.” We should be seeking Jesus, not for earthly comfort, but for heavenly gain. Paul says that in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light, momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Paul went through many trials, from being stoned to imprisonment to plots to kill him, to eventually being executed, and he calls all that light, momentary affliction! He had his eyes on Jesus, not for earthly comfort, but he knew Jesus could save him from his sins and grant him eternal life in Heaven.
I want Jesus’ light so that I can be free of my sins, serve God, and help others reach Him. Why do YOU want His light?