John 8:12-20 Light of the World

Light is amazing. In the hallway of our home, there is a very small light that produces maybe a fourth of the light from a candle. During the day, you can’t even tell it’s on. But in the deep dark of the night, that tiniest of lights exposes shapes and doorways and keeps me from stubbing my toe. John began his gospel with the declaration, “In Him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4–5, NASB95) In today’s exploration of John, Jesus makes this simple but powerful declaration, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Following Jesus’ declaration is a discussion with the Pharisees, the healing of a blind man, and the aftermath which follows. All of which shine a light on Jesus. Specifically revealing Jesus’ identity as God the Son and His purpose. For today we are going to look at verses 12 to 20.  

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. “You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. “But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. “Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. “I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.” So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.” (John 8:12–20, NASB95

It’s interesting to me that Jesus makes this huge declaration, and the Pharisees begin arguing about truthful testimony. They don’t ask what Jesus means. Neither do they point to the various light-centric parts of their faith. The Pharisees dropped Jesus’ claim faster than a hot potato, scrolled by it without even a glance. But in His rebuttal, Jesus reveals His relationship with His Father, but it seems the Pharisees didn’t get that He is talking about God.

 In and of itself, light is revealing, but not judgmental. It simply shows what is. Light reveals as it bounces off all things of our life. The colors that are absorbed and reflected. It shows our shadows and the sin we try to hide from the light. Light reveals truth. It does not judge that truth, only reveals it. This is the essence of John chapters eight and nine.

Taking a practical turn. Often someone will write into Lambchow with a sin struggle. We welcome those emails, by the way. The counsel provided in return always invites them to let the light of Christ shine on that dark corner. They say and have proven, that sunlight is an excellent disinfectant. The same is true of our sin. As we take our sin to God instead of ignoring it, hiding it, or denying it, He forgives and cleanses us (1 John 1:9). Sometimes, especially for those deeply hidden sins, those things we don’t want anyone to know, the victory comes by confessing to God and to one another. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16, NASB95) That “one another” could be your local pastor or a trusted friend or the members of a small group gathering. There’s something healthy about speaking and confessing our sin to another and bringing it into the light of Christ.

We aren’t finished with this theme of light. It will carry on for several weeks as we explore John eight and nine. There is great benefit by letting the light of Christ’s truth shine on us. That light can be frightening, yet also healing. The question is if we will seek the light or run from it.

Dale Heinold
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