In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
I. THE SUBLIME DECLARATION. In its ultimate origin all life is mysterious. It must rest on an eternal life. The Divine life the only true life. "In Him life was." In us dependent, continually becoming. The text a contradiction if employed of a mere man. The life in Christ was the life of the Spirit. Reason leads us to the conception of a continually ascending life, vegetable, animal, rational. Revelation adds the spiritual — the life of inspired men, of fellowship with God, of angels of Christ who had the Spirit without measure. His was the life of God — perfect purity, ceaseless activity, infinite love.
II. THE PROCLAMATION. The life was the light of men.
1. In paradise. Man walked in it and saw God face to face.
2. Then followed a long period during which the light shone on chosen men, places, institutions. Light in the midst of gross darkness. The heathen world was full of evil. Some light shined here and there.
3. When the fulness of time came the life was the light of men. Power, gladness, graciousness, adaptation, acceptability of the gospel represented in the analogy of light in darkness. Light calls out energies, helps growth, reveals faces, turns bloom to fruit, and fruit to perfection. Life and light intimately blended.
4. What was wanted then is wanted now; light of men as well as of man; in communities, nations, individual heart and conscience. Light in the household — among dark anxieties, sorrows, desolation. Light in the prospects of mankind — a bright future the outcome of the light of Jesus. Light on the sepulchre — not now a mere sombre monument of fallen pride, but affection's memorial written in the language of hope. The life will reappear, and we shall appear with Him and be like Him, and so be ourselves that life and light of men.
(R. A. Redford, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In him was life; and the life was the light of men.