Jesus the light in a darkened world

By Judy Brandon

The summer before my senior year in high school, my sister Susie and I traveled with Mother and Daddy to Kansas City for a church convention.
Because we were near a community where Daddy once pastored, my parents decided to take the next week as vacation and attend a revival. They wanted to renew old friendships with the church people.
The two-week tent revival the event of the summer for that little community.
Flat Creek was mostly an agricultural community and farm families came in droves to attend all services — even though there was no special program.
I remember this revival in Missouri for two reasons.
One, the old-fashioned ringer telephones that hung on the wall in this community tucked far away in the hills of Missouri were being replaced with “modern telephones.”
The other reason was because of the old preacher who served as the visiting evangelist for the revival. I’ll never forget the first time I saw him get up to preach. He dressed in coattails and took his calling seriously. He had thick wavy gray hair and could speak to the entire congregation under the tabernacle without using a loudspeaker. His voice was booming and his manner captivating.
That night, he carried a lantern with him to the podium. A chain of single light bulbs was strung across the tabernacle ceiling and when he reached the podium, he instructed the men to turn off the lights.
Then in his booming voice, he made this statement: “The light of the world is Jesus,” and with that, he turned his lantern on, and suddenly light was thrust across the entire congregation and the effect was tremendous.
Then he talked about how Christians should let their lights shine.
“The way you live, the way you talk, the way you meet people and greet people … the way you do business, and the way you treat your family … all these areas must shine with the light of Jesus,” he said.
All the time he was holding high the burning lantern.
Then he gave us a solid illustration. He had heard the account from a preacher friend, D.L. Moody.
Moody told the story at a “preacher meeting,” he said. It seems that Moody observed a blind man sitting on a busy sidewalk street in a metropolitan city. It was evening, and the blind man sat resting with his cane and satchel.
But the odd thing was that the blind man was sitting with a burning lantern. Many people whispered about him as they went by. One passerby asked the blind man why he had his lantern on.
“Should you turn it off? Do you know that your lantern is on?” the stranger asked the blind man. The passerby figured that a burning lantern to a blind man would be useless.
The blind man replied, “I have it lit so that no one may stumble over me.”
What a powerful illustration. One person may read the Bible, yet our lives may be read by scores of people every day.
Paul meant exactly that when he wrote: “You are our letters written and known by everyone, written not on tablets of stone but written on human hearts, written by the Spirit of God” (2 Corinthians 3:2).
Sometimes, we Christians are our worst enemies because folks observing us don’t see the Christian life modeled. We sometimes are stumbling blocks.
Yet, we are all supposed to be living letters of Christ if we claim to be Christians.
If we do not point people to Christ by our walk with him, each of us is only a dim light in a dark world.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: