Last week we explored the first of Jesus’ seven “I AM” statements in the gospel from John. There, Jesus taught that he is the bread of life. Feeding on Jesus, we know neither hunger nor thirst. This week, Jesus is the light of the world.
I Am the Light of the World
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12, ESV
Jesus made this statement within a very specific context. He was in Jerusalem, in the temple, more specifically the Court of Women, during the Feast of Tabernacles. A part of the ceremony during the feast is the lighting of four giant lamps, or candelabra, the wicks of which were made from worn-out priestly garments. As the people celebrated, they were reminded of the pillar of fire that guided them through the desert at night during the exodus from Egyptian slavery (Numbers 9:15-23).
Light and darkness are recurring themes in biblical writings. Jesus is not a light, but “the” light to a world “sitting” in darkness (Matthew 4:16). They’re just sitting there, because without light, what else are we to do? Without the light, we are left to blindly stumble our way to nowhere and nothing (John 12:35).
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. – John 3:19, NIV-1978
When we are engaged in evil activities, we prefer the darkness. Note in the passage above how men loved darkness because their deeds were evil. Everything subjected to the light becomes visible (Eph. 5:13), thus staying in the dark allows us (temporarily) to keep our evil under wraps.
Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. – Luke 12:3, ESV
Life is in Jesus, and that life is the light of men (John 1:4). Furthermore, that light and life is not counterfeit; neither is it just for a select few. “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1L9, NIV-1978). Everyone!
Jesus also said that we are light, and wherever we go, whatever we do, we are to let our light shine in a world of darkness, exposing it for what it is.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16, NASB
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. – Ephesians 5:11, NIV-1978
The directive above from the apostle Paul obliterates the “Live and let live” philosophy of the current generation. We are in the world as exposers and disrupters, shining the light of truth on the lies of darkness.
Do not be timid or fearful regarding the power and influence you have. No amount of darkness can quench your light. Gather up all the darkness you can muster and throw it at a single candle. The light of that candle will still shine.
Light always overcomes darkness. The opposite is never true.
Shine brothers and sisters. Shine boldly.