The Light of Life - John 1:4-9

John continues his introduction of the pre-existent Jesus and reveals Him as the source of light and life for all mankind that has come into his creation to bring light and restore life. 

Key Takeaways

  1. An abundant life consists of both physical and spiritual life.
  2. Darkness of this world cannot overcome the light of God.
  3. Following Christ gives us abundant full life, leads us out of darkness, and makes us light ourselves.
  4. With life and light, we can move boldly through the darkness of this world as a witness for the one who is the source of light.

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Abundant Life

v 4.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

John states that Word is the expression of God and in that expression or identity was life. Jesus was the source of all creation and is the source of all life. The word used for "life" here represents more than physical life. It speaks of full physical and spiritual life. This is the life that God breathed into his creation in Genesis 1:3. It's also what was forfeit (in part) when Adam and Eve first sinned and death entered into creation. 

Jesus, the creator of life, was now entering into His creation to bring new life to those who would receive Him. When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, He said that we must be born again of the Spirit because the spiritual life, as it was originally created, was now dead in sinful mankind. 

"Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.'" John 3:5-6 
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Cannot be Overcome

v5. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." 

While this world may seem rather dark sometimes, the power of the light comes from the source that created all things. There is no power of darkness that is greater than the power of the light. As Jesus has total authority over all His creation including the visible and invisible powers (Colossians 1:16), He could not be overcome by the darkness. Just as a small amount of light can illuminate a dark place, the Light of the World can drive out darkness wherever He is revealed. 

v6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. v7. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. v8. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

John the author now introduces us to John the Baptist. From before he was born, John the Baptist had a divine mission from God. He would be the messenger who would prepare the way for the arrival of the Lord. For John, this started when he was still in his mother's womb. (Luke 1:39) and continued until the beginning of Jesus' public ministry when John said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) 

John also gives us a picture of our sinful "flesh" nature that must decrease as the new spiritual nature increases.  

The True Light

v9. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

The creator was entering His creation. The God of the universe was now revealing Himself in a new way as He became a man. The Word, the full expression of God, who was the source of all life was giving light to all who would receive it. Unfortunately some prefer darkness and reject the light. 

"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil." John 3:19

But Jesus said that whoever does choose Him will gain the light of life. 

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” John 8:12
"So Jesus said to them, 'The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.'” John 12:35-36

Speaking of himself, Jesus says that if we believe in the light, we will become children of the light. We will be made offspring of the same light and spirit as Jesus.

Paul tells us in Ephesians that not only were we IN darkness, but we WERE darkness. But now that we believe in Jesus and have received new life, we ARE light. 

"for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)" Ephesians 5:8-9 

Witnesses to Life

Like John the Baptist, we are also divinely empowered to be witnesses (Acts 1). But instead of just telling people about the light, we have the light that we can show them. Knowing that we have been made new, we are then called to live in a way that brings this light to everything we encounter.

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" Phil 2:14-15

The light and the life of Jesus has been placed inside each of us. We can take that light into the dark world and be witnesses, confident that the darkness cannot overcome the light.