“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, nor of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
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 1:4-5, 9-12; 8:12
The Bible describes Jesus Christ as the source of eternal life and light, the light of men and the world which shines in the darkness and overcomes it (John 1:4-5; 8:12). However, here’s a question worth considering by all of us. If we don’t know Jesus as we should, are we seeing the light?
When the apostle Peter wrote the book which we call 2 Peter, he knew he was about to die. He wrote, “…I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me” (2 Peter 1:14). Thus, the last command God inspired him to write to Christians was to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). How well are you growing in the knowledge of Jesus?
The apostle John also wrote of Jesus: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 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. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:17-21). This passage says that those who practice wickedness hates the light because the light would expose their evil deeds for what they really are (John 3:20). Jesus is our spiritual light, but how well do we know him? How well do we see him?
God told us how to grow in our knowledge of Jesus and thus come to see him better. Peter wrote, “…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love” (2 Peter 1:5-7). The passage tells us to diligently add certain traits to the faith we possess: virtue (literally in the Greek, striving to be the best Christian we could be), knowledge (of God’s will for us), the discipline of self-control, the long-suffering of persevering steadfastness, godliness which comes from being devoted to God, brotherly kindness which leads us to love our fellow man, and love which causes active goodwill towards others. God promises us that “if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).
Growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ is more than simply increasing our intellectual knowledge of him. We need to have knowledge of what the Bible teaches about his life and his teachings, true, but having such knowledge is nothing more than an academic exercise if we do not become more like him. That can only happen when we develop these Christ-like attributes about which Peter wrote.
How well do you know Jesus? How well are you seeing the light?