Introducing Jesus: "I am the light of the world"
Scripture: "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.'" John 8:12
The second of Jesus' seven "I am" statements in the book of John declares that He is the light of the world. At the time when He spoke this statement, He was greeted with angry Pharisees and lots of confused people.
But what does this statement tell us about Jesus, and what does it mean for you today?
To me, it seems like it's a nice sentiment, that Jesus wanted to be light in a world of darkness. But what He was saying in the context of this text was so crazy that the people around Him wanted to kill Him.
This "I am" statement came during the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. The analogy of light was timely and profound because during this festival one of the rituals was lighting lamps that had wicks made from the garments of the priests.
And Jesus, made the simple yet offensive statement, "I am the light of the world." To His audience at the time, this was a crazy time to say such thing.
It wasn't just a nice statement that He was bringing joy, positivity, and light into a dark world.
The original text shows that He claimed to be "the light" not "a light." He was claiming to be the only light.
Light carried the meaning of salvation, goodness, and knowledge for the Jewish person at the time.
So Jesus said, "I am the light of the world," meaning He was the only light, the only way to salvation, ultimate goodness, and with all knowledge.
If you put yourself into this passage at the time, think about how crazy and strange that must have sounded.
Now, what does it mean for you and I today?
If you believe that Jesus is the light of the world, it means that you get to claim the promise in the verse, you will never walk in darkness because you have the light of life.
I've recently been reading the book "Searching for Enough" and the first couple of chapters are pretty depressing. The author's intention is to show the darkness in the world, because that darkness is completely contrasted by the light of the world, Jesus.
You have probably walked some dark days. I know I have seen the darkness in the world, and I have felt desperate to see the goodness of God. During a particularly difficult season, my dad reached out to me and reminded me of the simple, famous phrase, "this too shall pass."
I remember reading my dad's message during a difficult and dark season, and feeling the weight of the burden I was carrying. I also remember feeling hopeful and empowered as his gentle reminder pushed me to believe that although the season I was walking in felt dark, heavy and scary in every way--it wasn't forever.
In this statement, Jesus invites us to see the contrast between His way, a way of life, goodness, graciousness, kindness and forgiveness, and the world. I particularly fall in love with Jesus as I read this statement and see that He told us He is the light of the world. He loves the world (John 3:16) and is a God who declares that He will not leave us in darkness. He cares way too much.
If you are walking through a dark or difficult season today, remember this key part of Jesus' identity.
His promise is to never leave us in darkness. We will all walk through some difficult and dark seasons, but never on our own. And always with access to the light of life.
Whether you're facing difficulty enduring working with a frustrating coworker, watching a friend suffer through an illness, or struggling to make ends meet for your family, "this too shall pass" (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) and while you're in it, you have the light of the world with you.
-If you picture yourself in the passage, hearing Jesus make the statement that He is the light of the world, what would you be thinking or feeling?
-How does Jesus' statement about being the light of the world change your daily life? What does it mean for you today?
-How does believing Jesus' statement change the way you endure and approach difficulties?
Is someone you know facing a dark or difficult season? Think of how you can share about or encourage them to see the hope and light that Jesus brings this week.
Jesus thank you for being the light of the world. Thank you for loving the world and for loving me so much to come and save me from darkness. Strengthen me in my present circumstances. Help me to face them with joy, patience and endurance, knowing you are with me in them and you promise to never leave me in darkness. Amen.