When we think about light, what comes to mind? The light in the room you are in? The sun, moon, and stars? The red light you ran this morning trying to get to work on time? Well, Jesus said that as long as He is in the world, He is the Light of the World. Today, because Jesus lives within us, the Light of the World should be radiating from within us to the rest of the world. Let’s look at some of the characteristics and properties of light to see how we can apply those to Jesus’ words.
Since God created light, He created every characteristic and property that makes light what it is. So Jesus fully understood exactly what light is and how it works. So let’s think back to science class and what we learned about light.
Are you an opaque, translucent or transparent Christian?
First, light has an effect on materials. Opaque materials absorb light, but they do not let light pass through them. We certainly want to absorb all the light of Jesus into our lives. But if we are not passing His light on to others, we are being an opaque Christian.
Translucent materials allow light to pass through them, but it distorts the light during passage. If we are a translucent Christian, we might tell others about Christ and profess to be a Christian, but we do not live like a Christ follower. This gives the world a distorted view of both Christ and Christianity.
Transparent materials allow light to easily pass through them. As a transparent Christian, we not only tell others about Christ, but they can see Christ living in us. Which of these is true for you? Are you an Opaque Christian, a Translucent Christian, or a Transparent Christian?
Are you both a diffuser and a specular reflection of Christ?
The next property of light is reflection. Light will bounce off material in two ways: it will either diffuse and go in different directions, which is what happens on rough textured or uneven surfaces; or it has a specular reflection where light goes in one direction, which is what happens on smooth and shiny surfaces and results in an image being seen, like in a mirror or when you see your reflection in a body of water.
As a Christian, we certainly want to reflect Christ to a lost world. As long as we live in this world we are light to the rough texture with uneven surfaces – far from perfect in any way. Yet as we remain in this world, we should be reflecting Christ in every direction that we go – whether its at home with spouse and children, at the grocery store check-out line, in rush hour traffic, at church, visiting the neighbors, or even when we are alone.
At the same time, as a Christian, Christ washed our sins away through His blood on the cross, leaving us shiny and sparkling clean. So as the light of Christ creates a specular reflection, the image that should be seen in us is Christ’s reflection. So as a Christian, do you both diffuse the light of Christ wherever you are and is there a specular reflection that show’s Christ’s image for all to see?
Is it time for the Light of Christ to refract back to your own heart?
Another property of light is refraction. Whenever light changes speed, it will bend or refract. The simple rule of thumb is that when light slows down, it will refract towards the normal line. When it speeds up, it will refract away from the normal line. Refraction usually happens when the light travels from one medium to the next.
In all of our lives, there comes a time when we need to slow down and just let the light of Christ bend and refract toward the line of our own hearts. We can become so busy refracting the light of Christ away to others, that we become tired and exhausted. In Mark 6 we find that after empowering them, Jesus sent the disciples out to heal the sick and cast out demons and minister to the people. When they returned, they were excited, but tired. In verse 31, He says to them: “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” They had been refracting the light of Christ to everyone they came in contact with, but now it was time for the light of Christ to refract back towards their own hearts.
When was the last time you slowed the pace of life down and listened to the softly spoken words of Jesus whispered across your heart saying to you: “Come away by yourself to a remote place and rest for a while”? Is it time for the light of Jesus to refract to your own heart?
Are we dispersing Christ to the world so that all of who He is, is evident to the world?
Light also has the property of dispersion. This is the process in which light is separated into its colors due to the differences in degrees of refraction. So if we look at the colors of the rainbow, we can see the different ways the light of Christ is dispersed into the world.
- Red reminds us of His blood He shed on the cross that washes away our sin.
- Orange is a bright color much like the sun. Just as the sun illuminates the world and expels darkness, Christ illuminates sin in our lives and expels the spiritual darkness when we invite Him to be our Savior.
- Yellow reminds us of the street of gold in heaven so we can remember that earth is not our home.
- Green reminds us of healthy, living and growing plants and we should be constantly living for Christ and growing in our faith to be healthy Christians.
- Blue reminds us of water and Jesus said He was living water and that whoever believes in Him would never thirst again. If you feel a little thirsty spiritually, have you met Jesus at the well of living water?
- Violet can remind us of kingly robes that were often purple. So as we think about purple we can see Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Does the light of Christ disperse in you so all the colors are evident?
What kind of interference is there to the Light of the World?
Interference is another property of light. It can either superimpose and have a constructive interference or destructive interference. When we think about Christ as the light of the world, we need to personally reflect on our interference of His light to the world.
Sin creates a destructive interference. Repentance creates a constructive interference. Before salvation, our sin separated us from God (destructive interference) and kept us in darkness and made us a slave to sin. But as we heard or read the message of God’s gift of salvation, another property of light occurred. Christ’s light bent around the obstacle of our sin as God’s Word or the person telling us about Christ created a small opening into our hearts where Christ’s light emerged and if we repented of our sin and accepted Christ as our Savior, His light then spread out in all directions of our heart. This property is called diffraction.
At the moment of salvation, the light of Christ had a constructive interference. It also continues to have a constructive interference through the Holy Spirit who lives and dwells within us. Once we are saved, we are saved for eternity. However, sin can continue to cause a destructive interference in our relationship with Christ. So it is important that whenever the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin in our lives that we immediately confess and repent.
How frequently are you plugged into the source of Light will determine how brightly His light shines in you.
The last two properties of light are frequency and brightness. Frequency is the number of cycles that occur in a given amount of time. What is the frequency you are coming to the Light of the World? Do you just show up at church for Easter Sunday and Christmas Eve service? Or many you attend church every Sunday. Well – there are six more days in the week. Are you spending time with the Light of the World every day? And there are 24 hours in every day. Are you living a life where you are walking with Christ every moment of every day? And that brings us to brightness.
The brightness of light is affected by distance. At night if I turn on the outside porch light, the further I get from the light, the less light their is. The same is true for the Light of Christ. If we think attending church just at Easter and Christmas is enough, there will not be very much of the Light of Christ shining in you. If you attend church every Sunday, but are not spending time with Christ every day, you might start out the week with a bright glow but the closer you get to Saturday, the dimmer the light will be.
Jesus not only said that He is the light of the world. In Matthew 5:14, He said: “You are the light of the world.” We can only be light to the world when the light of Christ is shinning brightly within us. If we are going to be bright and shining lights to a dark world enslaved to sin, we must be plugged into the source of light. Only then can we share all the properties of the Light of the World with the world.
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