Why Does Jesus Say to Be the Light That Shines in the Darkness?

Jesus longs for us to naturally seek after light and be dismayed by the darkness, and as His followers, He is calling us to be a ray of hope — in the light we share with others. So, shine brightly, dear child of God!

Contributing Writer
Updated Aug 24, 2023
Why Does Jesus Say to Be the Light That Shines in the Darkness?

The other night we were casually watching a movie as a family when we heard a loud pop, and then in an instant, the entire living room grew dark.

We all stumbled around, crawling over one another, searching and reaching for something (anything) to shed light on the situation. Turns out all we were grasping for were flashlights with a dim light or dead batteries.

Frustrated and growing impatient, we began snapping at the kids to stop whining and complaining and to help gather supplies. Thankfully it didn’t last too long, and as we began to trudge off to bed, everything flickered back on.

The whole situation just got me thinking about how much we need light, how we need it to see clearly and to guide us. Light is important to our everyday lives, as it wakes us up in the morning and keeps our homes bright.

It offers us vitamin D and D3, which help us absorb other nutrients into our body properly. Now of course, there are many sources of light. You don’t need me to get into the nitty-gritty of all that.

However, the point is, light is the source of our life, and without it, we can actually suffer from headaches, fatigue, stress, and depression.

Jesus Is Our Everlasting Light

All that being said, as believers, we also have the honor and privilege of serving a God that is our eternal source of light. The One that provides us with the types of light we need to grow physically, mentally, and emotionally, but also the light to grow spiritually.

In John 8:12, Jesus tells us that He is the light of the world and that whoever follows Him will no longer walk in darkness.

The beauty and symbolism here, like with many verses found throughout Scripture, are as comforting and reassuring as they are powerful.

If we venture into the Book of John, one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life, it is laid out pretty clearly that Jesus is the Son of God and has come to save the world (John 1:19-51).

But, as John tells stories of how Jesus went to teach, perform miracles, and ultimately proclaim seven “I Am” statements, one where He stated, “I Am the Light of the World” (John 8), controversy strikes, making religious leaders angry and leaving crowds confused. These were brutal times indeed.

Jesus knew He would be met with resistance, yet He also knew that Israel was in desperate need of a heart makeover. He didn’t come in and proclaim to be another rabbi or teacher, but rather to offer them a way to experience a new life and to be transformed (John 3:2-2).

So, Jesus sets the stage in these I Am statements weaved throughout John 2-12, declaring Who He is and furthermore, who we are called to be as His followers.

Soon after the infamous story of feeding thousands with a boy’s five loaves of barley bread and two tiny fish, stating, “I Am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35), the second I Am statement is made.

During the Feast of Tabernacles, which was a Jewish holiday to celebrate the harvest and to thank God for His provision and guidance during the 40 long years of wandering in the desert, all the Jewish men came before the Lord at the temple.

Jesus stands before them and reveals Himself again, stating, “I Am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Our Purpose of Being a Light

Jesus continued His mission to make Himself known and to bring forth the purpose for His people.

As Jesus gathers with the disciples at the sermon on the mount, He makes it clear that they are called to live out their lives differently by displaying certain attitudes while undergoing challenging times and experiences, including persecution in His name.

But there is a beautiful nugget of hope as Jesus tells those beloved disciples (and us) to rejoice and be glad because the reward will be great as we inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:11).

Jesus continues by calling the disciples to be salt and light. At that time, salt was used to preserve food and give it taste, similarly to how it is used today.

As believers, we are called to make the world a better place by giving them a taste of Who Jesus is through our loving actions, gentle approach, steadfastness, and hunger for righteousness.

Then Jesus shares why we are to be the light in the world. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells us,

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

This is our purpose, dear friend! Jesus is telling us not to hide our light, but to let it shine, for the whole world to see.

In essence, being that town built on a hill, lighting up our lanterns to give our house a glistening glow, letting others see that you welcome and invite in the light and those that need it!

Let Your Light Shine!

The beauty of being a light is two-fold. Once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ dwells inside us, producing this radiating light, and giving us this eagerness to share it with others.

Think about the time you said yes to Christ and that incredible new believer feeling. There was this wild and emotionally charged high that came with it. That right there is how we should be all of the time, willing and ready to share Jesus’ love.

Let your light shine, dear friend, because our world is deprived and starving for hope. It desperately needs it. As the world grows dimmer by the day, Jesus, our everlasting light, is the answer.

We can be that beacon of hope, but we must walk with truth and grace, humbly striving to seek God for discernment on how to gracefully share our source of light and where to shine His love in a lost and hurting world.

We must also recognize that we can easily fall into persecution, being ridiculed for standing on the bedrock of Truth and making Jesus’ name known. We have been warned that this will happen (Matthew 5:11), but please don’t lose heart.

We are not to be afraid or consumed with fear, but rather trust in Jesus, and follow His command to rejoice and be glad as we will receive a great reward for submitting to His will and giving glory to His name (Matthew 5:12).

3 Ways to Be the Light

1. Be tethered to the LightIf we want to be the light we are called to be, we must truly know the Light. Dig into His Word, seek His wisdom, and ask for His loving guidance to lead and direct you to where He is calling you to shed light (1 John 1:5-10).

2. Share love with your spiritual gifts. God has given us gifts, talents, and blessings in which to serve and love others. In our obedience, we can use these to shine a light, bring glory to His name, and offer hope and encouragement (1 Peter 4:10).

3. Pray for the lost. We serve a God that is eagerly searching for the lost sheep. Our hearts should hold the same compassion and pray for those that desperately need God’s hope, love, and light. (Luke 19:10).

What Does This Mean?

As I think back on the times, we have lost power, and I had that innate and immediate feeling and urgent need to find light, it gives me great pause and a thankfulness in my heart. We sure do serve a good God.

He has such compassion, and His love is so great that He did not spare any detail in creating us. He yearns for us to know Him intimately and deeply, and the intricate and beautiful way in which he formed and fashioned us speaks to that.

He longs for us to naturally seek after light and be dismayed by the darkness, and as His followers He is calling us to be a ray of hope — in the light we share with others. So, shine brightly, dear child of God!

For further reading:

Why Did God Say, 'Let There Be Light'?

What Is the Power of God’s Light Over Darkness?

How Can Christians Overcome the Darkness of Life?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/pixdeluxe

Alicia SearlAlicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy.  Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.


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