One thing people agree on: life is less than optimal. What people don’t agree on: the causes, the solutions, and even, what the final result should look like. And this was just as true in Jesus’ day as is today.
Jesus was different. He lived without sin. Even the Quran say Jesus was the only sinless person. Moreover, Jesus practiced authentic love towards all people. He had a lifestyle that showed he was the only person to have it together. He had unique qualifications to answer questions about the world’s problems, solutions, and direction.
Jesus said the world walked in darkness. That meant more than merely its practices were evil. That also meant it was lost, wandering in circles, and unable to see the path at its feet. It pursued the wrong goals. It valued the wrong things. It was going in the wrong direction entirely.
Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” He was not lost. He did not wander in circles. He pursued the right goals. He had the right values. And because he was light, if we walked with him, we could finally see. We wouldn’t be lost. We could fully, truly evaluate what is right, true, and valuable. We could do this, because we could see what Jesus did.
Jesus gave several “assessments” about people and the world. The first was that people did not have a correct relationship with God. People were designed to have a love relationship with the Father of All Creation. Some pursue this relationship moralistically. Meaning: striving to do good and not do bad. But the Bible says that God’s standard is perfection. Any bad will break the relationship. One bad thing is one too many.
Some pursue the relationship religiously. Meaning: the strive to faithfully observe certain forms, norms, and practices. God commanded the Jews to sacrifice animals, a religious form that was intended to handle the sin they committed. But animal sacrifice could never be the final solution to sin. And God never intended it to be. It was a temporary solution, pointing people to God’s final solution, Jesus’ death.
Second, people do not treat people as they should. People should treat all people with love. (All people! Think of the current American political scene.) We have considered love, what it means, and how to practice it, numerous times, so we will not expand on it extensively at this time. But imagine what kindness, patience, and complete communication (as much as possible) would mean on the interstate highway system. Imagine what putting others first would mean in that context. There are numerous everyday situations that love would revolutionize.
We could discuss a number of facets of the world system, but love of God and love of people completely cover all aspects of the present age. Jesus said those two loves completely obey all of God’s commands; the completely pursue all of God’s purposes. Walking in those two loves means we are fully situated in his light. These loves speak louder than worlds. These loves speak louder than signs and wonders. These loves fully complete God’s purpose in the world. These loves shine the same light Jesus did.