Posted by: rcottrill | November 17, 2014

The Light of the World Is Jesus

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Words: Philip Paul Bliss (b. July 9, 1938; d. Dec. 29, 1876)
Music: Philip Paul Bliss

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Philip Bliss died)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: According to the Cyber Hymnal, this hymn was published in 1875, a year before Bliss’s tragic death. However, Hymnnary.org shows it in a book five years before that. There is an incident in Bliss’s life which suggests the later date is the correct one. Perhaps the hymn book date is a printing error.

One day in the summer of 1875, in the Blisses home in Chicago, he was walking down the hall to his bedroom when the idea for a new song came to him. We cannot know for certain, but it could well be the light in the hall–or lack of it–that turned his thoughts in that direction. Thomas Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb lay several years in the future, so Mr. Bliss was likely relying on a lamp or a candle. He immediately thought of Christ’s great statement that He is “the light of the world.” And out of that experience Philip Bliss created both words and music for the present song.

CH-1) The whole world was lost
In the darkness of sin,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday,
His glory shone in.
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

A dozen times this simple gospel song tells us that the Lord Jesus is the Light of the world, reiterating what He Himself said (Jn. 8:12).

Various forms of the words light and dark are found all through the Word of God (over two dozen times each in the New Testament epistles alone). Sometimes they speak of the physical light and darkness of day and night. But when the words are used in a symbolic way, they are used to contrast the following things (cf. Ps. 36:9; 119:105, 130; Prov. 4:18; Jn. 8:12; 12:46; I Jn. 1:5-7):

¤ Light – righteousness, purity, truth, honesty, life, salvation
¤ Darkness – sin, impurity, ignorance, deceit, death, condemnation

There are many kinds of man-made lights in the world. Human ingenuity and exertion has produced some amazing things. But compared to the eternal glory of God, the lights of man are darkness, and the world is “a dark place” (II Pet. 1:19). That’s even more true spiritually. Nor can we, spiritually, by human effort, gain the light of life, make ourselves acceptable to God, or gain an entry into heaven.

The Lord Jesus came to this earth to bring light. He says, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). The gospel, the good news of salvation in Christ, is meant to “turn [individuals] from darkness to light” (Acts 26:18). Through personal faith in Christ as Saviour we receive that light, and Christians are able to say, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13; cf. I Pet. 2:19).

In the world of nature, the sun is the source of light; the moon has no light in itself, but reflects the light of the sun. Similarly, though the Lord Himself is the Source of spiritual light, a number of texts speak of believers as being given that light, bearing and sharing God’s light (Matt. 5:16; Eph. 5:8; Phil. 2:15).

CH-2) No darkness have we
Who in Jesus abide;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light
When we follow our Guide!
The Light of the world is Jesus!

CH-3) Ye dwellers in darkness
With sin blinded eyes,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash, at His bidding,
And light will arise.
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Questions:
1) Why is light a good symbol for the list of six things given above?

2) Why is darkness a good symbol for the six things listed above?

Links:


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