Short Meditations in John 8: 12. Light – again
Part 2: All about Testimony
Jn 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Some would say this is a continuation from the end of chapter 7 and occurred when, in this part of the feast, on the evening of the first day, four massive candelabra are brought out and lit, lighting up the whole area. It is in the face of this great light that that Jesus makes this second ‘I am’ assertion. It is of course possible that Jesus waited until later in the week to do this because perhaps otherwise his words would get lost in the dancing and celebrations that accompanied the lighting of the candelabra. In which case he would be saying, “You’ve seen the great light that lit up Jerusalem earlier in the feast – I am a greater light than that.”
Isaiah had prophesied about a great light coming to Galilee (Isa 9:1,2, Mt 4:15) and clearly the land had been ‘lit up’ by Jesus’ miracles and teaching, but here he makes a claim that covers far more than just Galilee, the whole world – “the light of the world”. Later in John he says, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness,” (Jn 12:46) but that has the feel of the effect of hearing, believing and therefore, as a consequence of being brought out of darkness, to live in the light. Here in this present verse he simply presents a more general, “If you follow me you will be walking in my light.”
Do you see the power of that picture? Jesus is THE source of light and so if you walk alongside him you will be bathed in this light and darkness will be banished from your experience.
But of course Jesus speaks about spiritual or moral darkness, the darkness that limits the lives of so many people. Where he is, that spiritual or moral darkness is banished, because from him flows such spiritual and moral goodness darkness cannot exist in its presence.
The ‘light of life’? Well, without light life cannot exist. Plants cannot grow without light. Without light we cannot see to live. Light shows what is all around it, light shows the reality of the world, light shows the way, light enables plant life to grow and food to be grown. Without light life cannot exist.
Without Jesus, men and women live in a blind world where they fail to see reality, where they totter through life with little understanding of this world made by God, provided for our blessing. Yes, they encounter it, more by feeling than by sight and fail to comprehend the wonder of it, and thus are not thankful (Rom 1:21) and became inward looking, self-centred and godless. Let Jesus’ light transform your world.
Application: Because I think there is a danger in the coming discussions that we simply become intellectual and academic, I want to check us in each study to ask, “What does this say to me?” So now, do I see my life as one that lives in the light of Jesus and which sheds and shares his light?