Visible and Invisible Light

Written by Gabriel Graffius

November 25, 2022

Many of you may not know that in addition to being a pastor, I am a scientist. As a result, I have a deep interest in how the world that God created works. This year, I have been enjoying the variety of fascinating images from the James Webb Space Telescope. Some of the images seem unreal, and although they are, they are not the “originals” because they had to be translated into the visible spectrum so that we could see and appreciate them. The main thing that enables the James Webb Space Telescope to peer so deeply into space is that it detects light of higher wavelengths than the visible spectrum. Our eyes only see a small part of the spectrum of light, so there is actually “invisible” light (Ultraviolet and Infrared) from our perspective. It is present, but we are not always aware of it.

I can’t think of a better way to announce the arrival of the light of the world than a star. Its appearance was interpreted as the arrival of something or someone significant. Yet, the appearance of that star was just a small glimpse of the light that would come. When I think of Jesus as the light of the world, I can’t help but skip all the way to the end of the Bible and the words of John in Revelation. “ 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it (Revelation 21:23-24).” When Christ returns visibly and powerfully and brings about the new creation, the light of the world is going to be much different that it is today. His light, His glory will shine for all of us and we will walk in His goodness in the Kingdom of Light (Colossians. 1:12). What an incredible promise! Until that time, when all will see and know Christ, there will be some that will see the light and some that do not.

Read John 12:35-46. Jesus was telling the crowds that “the light” would be with them a little while longer and that they must believe in Him so that they will no longer be in darkness. If we simply believe in Jesus, we will be children of the light and walk in it. He and John also pointed out that even when the light was in the world there were those that were blind to it. It didn’t matter how many miracles they saw; they still didn’t believe and recognize (John 1:10) the Son of God. Considering there were so many who didn’t believe in Christ when He was here, we shouldn’t be surprised to find so many that don’t see the light now.

Although the light has returned to His kingdom and may even seem far away at times, I know that the light is still with us. It is just not as clearly visible as it was then and will be some day. But, while we wait for the return of the light in all of His glory, we are called to be points of light (Matthew 5:14). We are to play the role of the James Webb Space Telescope and its engineers. The light is invisible to the lost, but as children of the light we can see it piercing the darkness and we even have it within us. We must be the visible image bearers of the light to a world that seems filled with darkness.

Like the article? Read the rest in this month’s Sabbath Recorder here.

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