The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9 CSB)
Light is powerful. It helps us see things clearly, it keeps us warm, it’s a symbol of hope and truth. Without it, we are left to dwell in darkness. Stumbling, crashing, aimlessly wandering around in despair, cold and afraid.
John describes Jesus as the true light.
No doubt there are other lights. Billions of people find ways to navigate and cope with the darkness without Jesus. But John says that Jesus is the true light.
By true, he means that Jesus is the real, ultimate light. He’s the light that gives light to all other lights. Every other light is actually just a reflection of the true light. In the same way that the moon only shines because of the sun, so every other light only shines because of Jesus.
If Jesus is the true light, then that presents us with two uncomfortable realities.
First, in Jesus alone can we be truly known.
If Jesus is the true light, then we can’t hide. We’re accountable to someone. Jesus shines into our darkest places, knows our deepest desires, weighs our motives, and calls us out. He has the right to say what’s good in us and what’s evil in us… and judge us accordingly.
Second, in Jesus alone can we truly live.
We can’t experience life at its best—full of joy, and love, and significance, and safety—without Jesus. We can see flashes of these things in our lives without Him… but we’ll never experience them fully. We need him. He is the true light.
And thus, Jesus presents us with an uncomfortable decision.
Will we come into the light? Will we come to him, be exposed, confess our sins and live in the light? Or, will we continue to hide, be appalled at Jesus’ audacity to make such an exclusive claim over our lives, and remain in darkness?