Light. I crave it. I’m drawn toward it. I need it—especially in winter, when my physical and emotional well-being become drained by the lack of sunlight. I take my kitchen curtains down in the winter because I’m trying to let every possible beam of sunshine into our home.
Thank heavens, we’re finally emerging from winter! But I’m still reveling in Jesus’ identity as light—a facet of His character that sustains me in times of darkness—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. John describes Him this way:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. . . The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:1, 4-5, 9 ESV).
But John isn’t the only one who characterizes Jesus as being full of light. Over the past few months, I’ve been exploring this facet of His identity, which can be found throughout the Scriptures:
- Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, the prophet Malachi spoke of Him as the Sun of Righteousness, who rises with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2).
- One of Isaiah’s many prophesies about Jesus calls Him a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6).
- John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah, called Him the dayspring (sunrise) from on high, who guides our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79).
- Holding Jesus in his arms after years of waiting and longing, Simeon called Him a light for revelation (Luke 2:32).
- While He walked on earth, Jesus called Himself the Light of the world, who gives the light of life (John 8:12, 9:5) so that whoever believes in Him will not remain in darkness (John 12:46).
- Writing to Timothy, Paul identified Jesus Christ as the one who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16).
- After His ascension, when He revealed Himself to John on the Island of Patmos, Jesus called Himself the bright morning star (Revelation 2:16).
Jesus is not the only member of the Trinity who embodies light. This, of course, makes complete sense since Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30). There are a number of places in Scripture that underscore Father God’s identity as the creator and source of our light—physically, emotionally, and spiritually:
- David called God his light and salvation (Psalm 27:1), and the sons of Korah called Him a sun and shield (Psalm 84:11).
- Isaiah prophesied that the LORD would be our everlasting light (Isaiah 60:20). This is reiterated in John’s Revelation, where he says that the holy city will not need sun or moon because the glory of God Himself will give it light (Revelation 21:23).
- James calls Him the Father of Lights in whom there is no shadow (James 1:17).
- Similarly, John proclaims that God is light and there is no darkness in Him (1 John 1:6).
Having feasted on this banquet of Scriptures that speak of God the Father and Jesus Christ as light, I fully expected to find similar references to Holy Spirit. But as I studied, I was mystified by the lack of Scriptures that spoke of the light of the Spirit. That really caught me off guard. Light is so obviously and fully a characteristic of the Godhead. Why doesn’t it show up in the Scriptures relating to the Spirit?
Then a thought occurred to me—I welcome you to test it with me: What if we are the reason that there is no mention of the light of the Spirit? What if the Spirit’s light comes when it shines through us? After all, Jesus called us the light of the world! He urged us to let our lights shine before others so they can see our good works and glorify His Father (Matthew 5:14-16).
Of course, we carry this light only because the Holy Spirit dwells in us. It’s not like we could manufacture this light apart from Him! But the truth remains that we’ve been given a commission to be carriers of the Lord’s light wherever we go:
- Even before the advent of Jesus, Isaiah foresaw that we would be “a light for the nations” to open blind eyes and release prisoners from darkness (Isaiah 42:6-7). Then a couple of chapters later, Isaiah encourages us to rise and shine in response to the Lord’s glory that has risen on us. As a result of God’s splendor, nations and kings are drawn to our light (Isaiah 60:1-3).
- Jesus refers to Himself as the light that would remain for only a little while longer, then urges His listeners to believe in the light so that we may become sons of light (John 12:34-36).
- Paul urges us to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). A similar theme can be found in his letter to the Ephesians where he calls us “light in the Lord” and urges us to “walk as children of light,” bearing the fruit that is found “in all that is good and right and true.”
- Then in his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul calls us “children of light, children of the day,” who are to be watchful and sober (1 Thessalonians 5:5-8).
- Peter reminds us of our identity as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” And what’s the purpose of this regal identity? “That you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
- John urges us to “walk in the light, as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7).
Let’s pause right now and bask in the brightness of this truth, that we have the privilege of being light bearers.
Then let’s look back over these Scriptures and choose one–perhaps a passage that has particularly caught our attention. We’ll take a couple of minutes to ponder it. Sit with it. Use our holy imagination to enter into it. What might the truth of this Scripture look like as it comes to life in us?
Then let’s allow our ever-brightening spring days to continue to remind us that we are Spirit-filled children of light, who walk in light bearing the armor of light, as we carry God’s light to the nations.
I am a child of light. Where can I shine today?
~ Kathryn Kircher