Even as the darkness of death was present in his sickly body, Augustin-Jean Fresnel persisted in working on his powerful light. Finally, in the early 1820s, he tested the first Fresnel lens in France’s Cordouran lighthouse.
The lens—a ring of beehive-like prisms—allowed sailors navigating dark, troubled waters to glimpse life-saving beams many, many nautical miles from land. Called “the invention that saved a million ships,” Fresnel’s work was featured in thousands of lighthouses by the 1860s.
Although he died of tuberculosis in 1827 at just thirty-nine years old, the light from his lens would save the lives of countless seafarers over the coming decades.
As a part of His perfect plan, God chose to send Jesus, His only Son, to bring light to our troubled world. As John wrote, “God is light, in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Christ pushed back the darkness of sin and death as He shared the good news of life and forgiveness (vv. 2, 9).
Because of Him, we can live “in the light, as God is in the light,” . . . for “the blood of Jesus . . . cleanses us from all sin” (v. 7).
Like Fresnel, Jesus also died in his thirties, but He rose again—providing light and life for all who believe in Him (Acts 16:31). In Christ, we find the power we need to walk in His light.
And that’s the Memo.
By Tom Felten and Our Daily Bread Ministries