One line stands out in this passage: "I, the light, have come into the world." Jesus says exactly who he is. He is much more than a prophet, much more than a political Messiah, much more than anyone ever imagined a man could be: he is the very light of the world. He is the centre, focus, apex, fulcrum....all the superlatives you want to use rolled up into one! And he is right. There is no one in all history who causes men such problems as Jesus. He speaks across the ages, he calls us every day of our lives. So many things in our lives are directly affected by him....our moral choices, our prejudices, our hopes. There is no part of our life where Jesus does not have something to say and some light to shine on it. The problem is we keep trying to look at other lights and miss the glorious one sitting in front of our eyes. What a pity!
One of the striking features of Jesus Christ is the immediate recognition which, at the outset of his public ministry, he won from at least some. Mahomet gradually gained his followers, but he certainly did not immediately gain recognition as the greatest and final prophet. That came with his success on other, related fronts — including his military success. But before Jesus Christ had so much as begun his public ministry, he was recognized by John, whom the people counted as a great prophet, as the One long foretold. He was the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. John saw his own ministry as being no more than a voice preparing the way for Another — and that Other was Jesus of Nazareth. At John’s prompting, two of his disciples follow Jesus, and stay with him that day. After this, Andrew — one of the two — tells his brother Simon that “we have found the Messiah!” (John 1: 41). Philip is invited by our Lord to follow him, and he goes to Nathanael and tells him that “We have found the one Moses spoke of in the law — the prophets too — Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth” (John 1: 45). There is no record anywhere in the entire Scriptures of such a recognition accorded to another, let alone so rapidly given. Nathanael, on being introduced to Jesus, and being told by Jesus that he had seen him under the fig tree, said to Jesus, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel” (John 1: 49). All of this was accepted by Christ — and more still. Find the prophet who dared to present himself as the natural Son of God! Such a thought would boggle the imagination. But this is just what he did, and in the presence of his enemies, those who had power to do him great harm. He did this not only before them, assembled to condemn him to death, but during his public ministry when they were not expecting it, and in the very Temple. “I and the Father are one,” he told them (John 10:30). Islamic readers and others will claim that all Christ meant was that he and the Father are one in purpose, but “the Jews” immediately prepared to stone him. They knew what he meant, and that he meant what he said. He was claiming to be God (John 10:30-33).
One of the features of the Christian West is that over the last few centuries it has become bored with God, and somewhat uninterested in Jesus Christ. In fact, over the last several decades there has been a widespread fad for Eastern religions, yoga, various forms of esoteric meditation and other — what we might call — religious “trips.” There has been a mysterious turning away from the Jewel of European civilization. Europe was created by the Catholic religion, and the Catholic religion is nothing other than love for Jesus Christ. The Jewel has been lost, and we are scrambling after bits of stone. Let us recover our true Love, and give ourselves over to it in earnest. Jesus Christ is the Song of the ages, the Melody taking us to life everlasting!