I Am the Light of the World (John 8:12-30)
I. The Statement
In the Scriptures, darkness refers to ignorance (Psalm 82:5), to evil and perversity (Proverbs 2:12-15), and to judgment (Zephaniah 1:15). It represents the absence of the favorable presence and blessing of God. Light, on the other hand, represents the presence and blessing of God, including understanding, uprightness, and His favor. Jesus, applying to Himself the divine name “I AM,” says that He is the light of the world. As the “I AM,” Jesus is the God that spoke to Moses from the bush (Exodus 3:14) and the only Savior and Lord of Isaiah (41:11-13). He is also the promised servant of Isaiah (42:6; 49:6) that would bring light to the nations, and salvation to the ends of the earth. When Jesus claims to be the light of the world, it is an exclusive claim both of deity and to being the source of salvation. He is God in the flesh, and in Him alone is their salvation, understanding, and righteousness (c.f. John 12:46; 9:5).
II. Our Response
In light of this exclusive claim of Jesus, what is the appropriate response on our part? Certainly, it is nothing other than complete submission and belief. He is worthy of and commands our faith, commitment, and obedience to Him. Jesus makes plain that those who are truly His, those who are really His sheep, will follow Him when they hear His voice (John 10:27). It is not those who merely see the light, but those who personally believe in the light that become sons of light (John 12:35-36). The one who looks at the light and even hears His words, but rejects Him in the end will be judged by the Father (John 12:44-50). The only proper response to Jesus’ true claim to be the light of the world is to come after Him, by denying ourself, taking up our cross, and following Him (Matthew 16:24).
III. The Promise
In John 8:13-30, there are two reactions to Christ’s “I am the light of the world” statement—unbelief and belief. The Pharisees respond to Christ with unbelief and anger (vv. 13-29). They reject Christ’s claim that He is the light of the world and respond that His witness is not true. In response, Jesus states that if they do not believe His claim they will die in their sins (v. 24). However, in v. 30, we read, “many believed in Him.” By believing in Christ, they were delivered from the power of darkness and became children of light. The promise continues to be true today for all who believe in the light. Those who were “formerly darkness” can now become “light in the Lord” and “walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
- What does Jesus mean when He says He is the light of the world? What is so shocking about such a statement?
- What does it mean to walk in darkness? What does it mean to have the light and to walk in the light?
- Are you believing the light? Are you walking in the light? Is your life characterized by faith, commitment, and obedience to the Lord Jesus? He is the only light. He alone brings salvation, righteousness, and truth. Are you walking in Him?