Darkness is difficult to negotiate. When you cannot see, you cannot find your way. What is easy and straightforward in daylight becomes problematic and even dangerous in the darkness.
The solution is, of course, some form of light to expel the darkness and enable us to see where we are, and where we can then go.
Most people have experienced stumbling about in darkness. Most people know how difficult and uncomfortable it is.
What so many do not realise however is that they are living their lives in darkness. They cannot see the way they should go. In fact they don’t even realise where they are.
In fact we are born in darkness and until someone turns on the light, we do not realise it. Most spend their entire lives in the dark. Many succeed regardless; many get by; and many don’t do too well at all.
The darkness I speak of is spiritual. And it concerns the way we live, our attitudes; the way we live with others; the way we affect others; indeed the way we affect our own selves.
We can either live in the light – in good relations with others, and especially with God; or live in the darkness of living for self alone.
The light is brought by Jesus Christ.
I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life
Following Christ is the key here. What does that mean ? How do we do that ?
Disciples in the time of Christ would literally follow a teacher to wherever he was going; and when he stopped, they would stand or sit and listen as he spoke. If they didn’t like what he taught, or were not convinced, or thought other matters were more important in life, then they would stop following.
That meant they no longer heard what the teacher had to say. It was what he had to say that they wanted to hear. But they would have to keep near him, they would have to keep up with him personally to get his whole teaching.
And that is what Christ is saying here.
Stay with me and listen to what I say; hear my teaching. And to know the whole story, stay with me.
Of course since that time we have the written word. At first it was committed to parchments and then more recently printed in books. So now we have the Bible as the record of what came before the earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ [the Old Testament] and we have the record of his life, death, resurrection and of his teaching [the New Testament].
So we have his words – in fact we have the entirety of his teaching. We have the whole course of his teaching set down for us in the Gospels; and we have the outworking of that teaching laid down for us in the experience of his first disciples, in the other books of the New Testament.
But what about Christ himself ? Is He not important too ?
Yes he is, and the person who decides to take up Christ’s teaching soon discovers that he can experience the presence of Christ too.
Those who hear and obey. Those who realise that they are sinners. Those who realise that only Christ at the Cross could earn the pardon for their sins. Those who enter into the experience of that forgiveness and of the life Christ won for them at the cross, are those who submit to the act of baptism – the washing away of their sins, and the identification with and the acquisition of the resurrection power of Christ. As they go down into the waters they experience the death to their old life; as they come up from the waters, they identify with and acquire the resurrection life of Jesus Christ.
Thereafter he is with them, and they experience him as they live in the good of his teaching – shunning the darkness of evil and disobedience, they live in the light of obedience.
They have the light of life