A few years ago, my family and I lived on a heavily wooded property. Every winter, without fail, a tree would fall on our property knocking out the power. We would then go days or more without any power. I would keep the house heated by chopping wood, and the kids got used to flash lights and candles at night. We’d power up our phones in the car, and watch movies on our laptops. Pretty much, it was indoor camping. When the lights would come back on, the kids would cheer.
When Jesus walked the earth, I wonder if the people cheered when He said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
God comes to the earth and declares Himself to be the light of the world. Interestingly, the strongest negative reaction came from the religious leaders. We read in John 8:13, “So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” In this we see that religion is darkness in three ways.
One, religion seeks to either destroy or discredit Jesus. Just like criminals who don’t want to be caught, they keep trying to snuff out the light of Jesus because it reveals their sin and error.
Two, religion judges Jesus rather than be judged by Jesus. The same continues today as people feel free to criticize Christ and Christianity rather than welcoming biblical instruction and correction.
Three, religion seeks to use God’s Word to control God instead of relating to God. In the Bible two or three witnesses are required for a fair accusation or trial (Deuteronomy 17:16, 19:15). So, the religious leaders in John 8 seek to deny anything Jesus said, because, according to their criticism, Jesus did not have another witness to back up His claims to be God. In response, Jesus says that God the Father is His witnesses. In addition, a long list of witnesses has already been brought forth in John’s gospel confirming His claims to be God including John the Baptizer (John 1), Moses and the Old Testament (John 5), the Holy Spirit (John 14-16), Jesus’ disciples (John 15), and John himself (John 19,21). Every one of us is prone toward this religious spirit where we disagree with God and want Him to change rather than ourselves changing so we need to use this example to check our own hearts.
Is there anything in God’s Word that you are prone to push against rather than yield to?