Over the years, our power has gone out a few times, mostly at night. We’d wake up in the middle of the night to an unusually dark bedroom. I remember two things sticking out to me about those experiences. The first was how much light the electronics actually emitted. Without them, you couldn’t see much, maybe the outline of your hand in front of your face. And the second was that often it was our children who woke us up in the middle of the night. They immediately noticed the difference when the power went out, even at 3 a.m.
These same realizations apply to the light that Jesus Christ offers to us. Do we realize how much we rely on Jesus Christ and His light? And are we spiritually sensitive to the changes in the amount of His light in our lives?
To fully appreciate the light that Jesus Christ offers the world, we must understand what that means. Let me explain.
Christ Lights the Path for Us to Follow
Jesus taught His disciples that He is the light of the world. He set the example and lit the path that we must follow. Jesus said,
He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).
Years ago, my brother-in-law and his daughter came up to visit us and then spent one night camping by a lake. The lake was up a 2-mile trail that was steep in places. My husband and then 7-year-old son hiked up in the afternoon to go fishing with them and have dinner. My husband and son weren’t spending the night, and my husband was planning to head home well before dark. But they were having fun and lost track of time. By the time they left, it was getting dark. They didn’t have a flashlight, just my husband’s cell phone that was running low on battery. So my husband used the flashlight on his phone to light the path for my son, and they both hiked down as fast as they could.
My husband used that as a teaching moment and said to our son, “Just as this flashlight illuminates the trail and shows us the safe way down, Jesus Christ lights the right path for us to follow to be spiritually safe.”
In all that He did, Jesus Christ humbly obeyed the will of His Father. Christ was baptized not because He sinned but “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:!5). He cleansed the temple, healed the sick, taught the people, and then performed the ultimate Atoning Sacrifice in obedience to the will of the Father. In doing so, He set the example of righteousness for us.
Christ Enlightens Our Understanding
Jesus Christ enlightens our understanding with His teachings. At the tender age of 12, young Jesus was found in the temple discussing doctrine. The scriptures teach,
All that heard him were amazed at his understanding and answers (Luke 2:47).
But Christ understood that “My doctrines are not mine, but his that sent me” (John 7:16). Jesus was the “messenger of the covenant” (Malachi 3:1) who came “to preach the kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43). Therefore, as we study His teachings and doctrines and then apply them in our lives, our understanding is enlightened. Christ’s doctrine invites us to make changes in our lives.
Jesus sought to elevate our behavior in His teachings. When a crowd brought a woman who was taken in adultery to Jesus, they wanted to stone her according to the Law of Moses. (See John 8:3-11.) But Christ said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). The crowd, “being convicted by their own conscience” (John 8:9), dispersed. When her accusers were gone, Jesus told her, “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). To the rich young ruler who asked what else he should do to inherit the kingdom of God, Jesus told him to sell everything and follow Him (Matthew 19:16-26). When Christ taught the Beatitudes, He taught us to be humble and look beyond ourselves at the needs of others. (See Matthew 5:3-11 and Luke 6:20-22.)
Our enlightened understanding through the Savior’s teachings changes our behavior and our perspective.
Christ Makes Our Burdens Light
Jesus invites all of us to seek Him. He taught,
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
Christ makes our burdens light by healing our wounds both seen and unseen. That doesn’t always mean that our disabilities and infirmities will be healed. Sometimes they will, sometimes not. But always He will be there to encourage us, lift us up and give us the strength to make it through our trials. Our burdens are made light as we have faith in and trust the Lord and His timing.
But we must also make the effort to reach out to Jesus Christ. There was a woman who had been suffering from an issue of blood for 12 years. (See Luke 8:43-48.) She had heard of Jesus, and she felt that if she could but touch the hem of His garment, she would be healed. So she made her way through the crowd, reached out, and touched His hem. She was healed. Jesus felt power go out of Him and sought her out. When she told Him and the crowd what she had done, Jesus said,
Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace (Luke 8:48).
We, too, can be comforted and find peace and rest as we rely on the light of the Savior.
Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Light
Christ is the way, the truth, and the light, and no man cometh to the Father but by Him (John 14:6) because He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Jesus was born of a mortal mother and Heavenly Father. He lived a sinless life and was obedient to the Father in all things. He was the only person qualified to be the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). And through His Atoning Sacrifice—beginning with His shedding of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane through to His crucifixion and death on the cross to His Resurrection—Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins and took away the sting of death for each one of us.
Because of His example, He lights the path for us to follow. Because of His teachings, we can deepen our understanding of truth. Because He took upon Himself the pains, sickness, weakness, trials, and tribulations of the world, we can find comfort and rest in Him. Because Christ was resurrected, we, too, will be resurrected one day. And through His Atonement, if we are obedient to the commandments of God and repent, we can be forgiven of our sins and live with God again.