Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” ~ John 8:12 (NLT)
I was a pastor at a boarding academy in Southern Oregon a while back. We would play a game every now and again called “Night Crossing.” Long after the sun had set, we would drive the students a mile away from the main campus buildings and set them loose in teams of three or four. Their objective was to get from their drop spot all the way back to the main campus, which we called “The Oval.” They had about one hour to accomplish this feat. It sounds easy enough. However, the staff were between them and their objective. If they are caught, it was usually game over.
The first time I played (as staff) I had my young son with me. We headed out dressed in all black to catch as many students as we could. However, we quickly realized that we had a slight problem. The flashlights we were using were not very bright. Though they could illuminate a spot about two to three feet in front of us, they didn’t really shine far enough for us to see any movement in the distance. While we could see where we were walking, we couldn’t see anyone else at any distance. Needless to say, we didn’t catch anyone that year.
The next time we played, however, I had since purchased tactical flashlights that could illuminate with the power of the sun at a distance of about 100 yards. We caught 10 teams that night. We were ecstatic. The students were bummed out. It was a good night.
When we are moving through the darkness, the strength of the light we are using is very important – if we use any light at all. With a weak, or non-existent light, we stumble around, bumping into things, falling into pitfalls, and ending up trapped in some dead end. With a powerful light, we can see the obstacles, the pitfalls, and the dead ends long before they become an issue.
In our verse today, Jesus calls Himself the “light of the world.” He shines the brightest in a world full of darkness. In fact, His light alone is powerful enough to get through the darkest moments in life. Even more amazing, His light shines so bright, it can shine beyond the confines of this planet and into eternity in Heaven. His directions to us? Follow the Light.