” . . . and through them is my glory revealed.” —John 17:10Over and over again, Jesus sought to teach us that the way we relate to others will directly affect what others think God is like. It becomes too painfully obvious when one realizes that there are masses in the world today who want to have nothing to do with God, not because they’ve had a bad experience with some heathen but because they had a bad run-in with someone who claims to follow God. Recently, I was walking down the main street of the little town I live in, and I saw the bumper sticker that has become all too popular: “I’m not afraid of God but of those who claim to be His people.” Jesus, on the other hand, encouraged us:
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
In the gospels, Jesus contrasted the imagery of light and darkness. Darkness is the root of all rebellion. Darkness is the lies that have been perpetrated and believed concerning the character of our Heavenly Father (the presentations for more on this.) Light, on the other hand is the truth seen in the life of Christ about the character of the heavenly Father that dispels the darkness/lies. Follow closely:
“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’” (John 8:12).
“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46).
“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
But Jesus did make a qualification:
“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world” (John 9:5).
Did you catch it? “While I am in the world . . .” What happened when He left? It’s quite simple. He left the work He had begun of illuminating hearts with the light of God’s character of love to be finished by those who believed in the love He was revealing—us. Again, how we act, how we treat others, will, either for the good or for the bad, directly influence what others think about God.
Jesus not only called Himself this, but He also said:
“You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14, emphasis added).
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1, In the book of Revelation God’s people are wreathed in the familiar sources we know as light).
Whether for better or for worse, those who claim to be God’s people will always color the perceptions of others as to what God is truly like. It was for this reason that Jesus prayed for us so intently at the end of His life here: “I pray for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, because they belong to you. All that is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine; and through them is my glory revealed” (John 17:9). Thoughts worthy of meditating on for sure. This next week, let’s mix things up a bit and show the world that God is love.