Theology 101 — Light

Christology Through Figures

By Jerry Batson, Th.D.
Special to The Alabama Baptist

As we noted in prior weeks, Jesus once summarized His teaching with the statement, “I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech” (John 16:25). A few weeks ago, Theology 101 adopted Jesus’ description of speaking in figures of speech to think about the person and work of Christ. Our focus in doing so is on the Gospel of John, in which a number of such figures are connected with Christ.

Through the lens of these selected figures, we seek to remind ourselves of insights about the biblical doctrine of Christology.

This week we let some of the properties or characteristics of light point us to truths about Christ’s person and work. Such a list might include the characteristics of shining, illuminating, revealing, warming, reflecting and dispelling darkness. Let’s focus on two of these properties of light as ways of thinking about what Christ is and what He came to do.

Light reveals

Light is valuable in that it possesses a revealing ability. The flip of a switch illumines a porch light to reveal who is knocking on one’s door at night. Unable to see an item dropped in the dark, we turn on a flashlight which quickly reveals where it landed.

The figure of light as applied to Christ suggests He illumines what otherwise we might miss.

In His person, Christ came to reveal God on humanity’s level of seeing and understanding. He asserted on one occasion, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Second Corinthians 4:6 reminds us, “It is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” As the Light of the world, Christ came to reveal God more fully than had ever before been the case.

Reflectors of light

In His saving work, Christ came to dispel the spiritual darkness that beclouds every individual, in that all of us are sinners both by nature and by choice.

Christ spoke to those around Him, saying, “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, that you may become sons of Light” (John 12:36). The Bible speaks to us as Christians, declaring, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8).

God’s plan in Christ is not only to give us the light of understanding about Himself but also to make us reflectors of that light to others. Hence, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14).

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