“The Light of Life”
LIFE is dependent on light. Not only does human life require light, but, as the Scientific American of October, 1959, states: “All life on this planet runs on sunlight, that is, on photosynthesis performed by plants. In this process light supplies the energy to make the organic molecules of which all living things are principally composed.” Hence light and life are inextricably linked together.
Not strange, then, that we read in the Bible of “the light of life.” Jesus Christ said, at John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. He that follows me will by no means walk in darkness, but will possess the light of life.”
How can one possess “the light of life”? Jesus Christ is the one who gives light that leads to everlasting life. “I have come as a light into the world,” he said, “in order that everyone putting faith in me may not remain in the darkness.” (John 12:46) To possess “the light of life” one must put faith in Jesus Christ and become his follower.
One must also come to know the great divine Source of light, Jehovah God, the One who said in the beginning: “Let light come to be.” (Gen. 1:3) Of this great Source of light and life the psalmist wrote: “Jehovah is my light and my salvation.” “For with you is the source of life; by light from you we can see light.” (Ps. 27:1; 36:9) All light thus proceeds from Jehovah. Jesus Christ reflected this light that he received from his Father; and though he could say, “I am the light of the world,” he identified his Father as the Source of his light: “I have not spoken out of my own impulse, but the Father himself that sent me has given me a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak. Also I know that his commandment means everlasting life.”—John 12:49, 50.
Jesus Christ, as “the light of the world,” taught his followers God’s life-giving commandments; and he did more: He made his followers light bearers like himself. To his followers he said: “You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when situated upon a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under the measuring basket, but upon the lampstand, and it shines upon all those in the house. Likewise let your light shine before mankind, that they may see your right works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.”—Matt. 5:14-16.
No one can possess “the light of life” who himself is not a light bearer, for all possessors of “the light of life” must let their light shine before mankind, doing so for the glory of God, the Source of all light.
“THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD” TODAY
Who today is “the light of the world”? Who today have the message of enlightenment concerning God and his kingdom by Jesus Christ? Who today are making God and his kingdom clear to the minds of those who open their eyes of understanding to the light? Who today are shining brilliantly with “the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ”?—2 Cor. 4:6.
Is it Christendom with its worldly religions? By their own admission Christendom’s clergy are not reflecting the pure light from God, as an editorial in Theology Today of January, 1960, said: “Regretfully it must be acknowledged that this light does not shine in the Church with commanding brilliance. Other factors than Christ have been allowed to enter into its composition, and the Church has tended to become more and more like the communities with which it is surrounded. It is not so much the light of the world as rather a reflector of lights which shine in the world itself.”
Jesus Christ did not receive his light from this world; that could never have made him “the light of the world.” Instead of being “more and more like the communities with which it is surrounded,” the light of the world must be, as Jesus said, like a city situated upon a mountain. No individual could shine like this today. Jesus was talking to a group of his disciples when he said: “You are the light of the world.” So “the light of the world” is an organization of light-bearing Christians—Christians who are reflectors, not of what is in the world, but of the life-giving truths and commandments that come from God and which are found in the Book of light, the Holy Bible.
Today the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses is this light-bearing organization; it is a citylike organization that is prominent around the globe because all its members let their light shine before mankind. In a city there are women as well as men, and all contribute various functions. So in this citylike organization of light bearers all contribute to the light so that the organization can blaze as the greatest light today, as “the light of the world.”
The light that leads to everlasting life originates with Jehovah, the divine Source of all light and life. Jesus Christ received light from his Father and reflected it to others, that they might walk in light and be light bearers themselves. As an organization the true followers of Jesus Christ are “the light of the world,” shining with great brilliance to the glory of Jehovah God and to the salvation of all who come to “possess the light of life.”