The character of any graphic depiction is defined and determined by light. How things are illuminated—drawings, paintings, photographs or cinematography—determines their mood, character and clarity. A good cinematic example is the genre “film noir,” named for the French word meaning “dark.” A particular mood is set by using minimal light. Another example is using spotlights, not floodlights, to create a sinister scene. To make a person appear sinister, one aims spotlights from below. That dim, reflected light from beneath shows the face, yet you cannot discern how the eyes are focused and where they’re looking.

Jesus is the Light of the World who shines from above. When light shines from above, it shows more; one can see facial features, how the eyes are focused, where the person is looking. The light of God through Christ is bright, indeed—bright enough to reveal our glaring sins. That’s why some men love darkness—in the light, their sinfulness would be so apparent.

We all want to protect our image, and I think that most of us would be uncomfortable if everyone could see us in our sins in the way that God can see us.

But, wait—there’s more! In photography, the brighter the light, the higher the mood. In the light of God, when we are in Jesus, we are not merely depicted as we presently are, but we’re shown for what we will be. The promised transformation of our souls should make us want to be seen as we will be, and that’s part of the beauty and the joy of knowing Jesus. There’s an old song—I hesitate to use the word “hymn” because it was sung so popularly. It is titled, “Let The Beauty of Jesus Be Seen In Me,” and even if you don’t know the melody, I think it’s a good prayer:

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
All His wonderful passion and purity;
O Thou Spirit divine,
All my nature refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.