I Am the Light of the World
Open Your Bible
John 8:12-29, Psalm 27:1-14, John 1:1-4, Ephesians 5:8-14
Don’t get me wrong—I love the change of seasons and readily welcome autumn, but when summer begins to deflate, I want to grab on to every last drop. And then, when we begin losing daylight at a rate of two minutes per day (ugh!), I am absolutely done for. Shorter, colder days force us to come inside early and remember what it’s like to live in the darkness. Am I the only one who’s still a little afraid of the dark?
You and I both know we’re not strangers to the darkness. We see it every day, in every season. It’s in our conflicts and our diagnoses, our best intentions and our hurt feelings. Maybe winter feels harder because it’s just a stark, visual reflection of our sinful reality. Left to our own devices, we are people wandering in darkness (Isaiah 9:2). Since the fall in the garden, we have all been scrounging around in the pitch-black of our sin and shame, our souls in danger of never truly seeing light again.
But here’s what I love about the gospel: Just as we sometimes see a visual representation of the sinful nature of our souls, God gives us an everlasting image of redemption and hope in His Son, Jesus. In the Gospel of John, we read:
“Jesus spoke to them again: “‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).
Let’s jump in with a little bit of context here: Jesus is speaking to a crowd that included Jewish religious leaders. He is in the temple complex, and the Feast of Tabernacles is taking place. The Jews had been debating His identity because of the miracles people had seen and the authority with which He spoke. And now Jesus gives them one more outrageous statement to debate: “I am the light of the world.”
Light was an important symbol in the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33–44), signifying the pillar of fire given to Israel during the exodus (Exodus 13:21). But here in John chapter 8, Jesus is saying that He Himself is the light given to His children, illuminating the way to eternal life. His declaration is for us as well.
Now, we, as beloved children of Christ, have seen the great light of life set before us. Let us hold on to Him, our only sure hope in the midst of darkness. He is our light in this life and our eternal salvation, our stronghold in the face of all fear and dread (Psalm 27:1). May He awaken us from the darkness of our sin and our slumber of ambivalence (Ephesians 5:13–14).