By Faten Sabri
Is Jesus the Light of the World?
The disciples were described as the light of the world
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “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.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
The disciples were described as the children of the light
“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)
Jesus is the light of the world
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said: ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12)
Therefore, when Jesus described himself as the light of the word, it was not a literal description but a symbolical one, and this description can be applied on others.
God the almighty alone is the only literal light of the world. God is the true source of light to His creatures including Jesus himself.
“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” (1 John 1:5-6)
“The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
Are Jesus and God One?
“Jesus says: ‘I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one.’” (John 17:11)
Jesus explains the meaning of his oneness with God
“ ‘My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’ If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–and the Scripture cannot be broken– what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son?’ Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.’ Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. (John 10:29-39)
We can understand here that the meaning of his oneness with God, that Jesus did miracles with the permission of God, such as some acts which supposed to be done only by God. Many Messengers performed miracles, including Noah, Moses and other Biblical prophets such as Ezekiel, Elijah and many others, and these miracles only took place by the permission of God, so as to demonstrate the authenticity of the Prophet. Jesus also indicated that just as Jews were called (gods) as the word of God came to them, he was also called ‘the son of God’ because the word of God came to him.
God, Jesus and the disciples were described as one
“Jesus said: ‘That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.’” (John 17:21-23)
It is very clear that it was not a literal description but a symbolical one.
“Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.” (1Corinthians 10:17)
Here we read:
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5)
A married couple were described as one
“And said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’” (Matthew 19:5)
This is an indication for showing how close a man and a woman become after marriage. Therefore, the oneness of Jesus and God does not mean that Jesus is God or even the son of God but it is an allegory used for showing how Jesus is close and attached to God as a prophet and messenger of God.
We can notice that meaning as well in the words of Jesus in his description to the relation between God the almighty and his believers, (God, Jesus and the disciples are one), this is a symbolic usage to show how the disciples are close to God and Jesus. It is an analogy referring to God’s company, assistance and protection. God is One and symbolically referred to Him as ‘the Father’ and that Jesus is Just a teacher. It’s a way of saying God is the Creator, Sustainer and Supreme master of all:
“One God and Father of all.” (Ephesians 4:6)
“But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.” (Matthew 23:8-10)
The oneness of God was the core of the message of Jesus
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
Jesus disapproved anyone worshipping him
“And in vain they worship me.” (Matthew 15:9)
About the Author:
Faten Sabri (1973-) is a modern Jordanian Muslim thinker. She is well known for her frequent interaction with various cultures, religions and she speaks different languages. She studied comparative religions which made her able to discuss the controversial issues about Islam with the truth seekers and free thinkers.She wrote books about the message of Islam, the original concept of God and Jesus Christ in Islam and she has monthly articles in an international magazines. These books and articles were translated and distributed in more than 9 languages.