I Am the Light of the World

John 8:12-30

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.”

13 The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”

“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come. 

21 Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”

22 This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”

23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”

25 “Who are you?” they asked.

“Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”

27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.

I Am the Light of the World

At the end of the first day of the Feast of Booths, four golden lamps were lit in the temple courts amid great rejoicing. Singing and celebration, with music and dancing, continued through the nights of the feast, and the entire city was illuminated by the temple lights. It is in this context that Jesus makes his startling claim to be the Light of the World.

Light is a rich Old Testament symbol. It was the first thing God created (Gen. 1:3). During the exodus, the people of God were led in their journey by a pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. 13:21–22). The psalmist taught that “the LORD is my light” (Ps. 27:1). The coming age of the kingdom would be a time when the servant of the Lord would be as “a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isa. 49:6), and a time when God himself would be his people’s light (Isa. 60:19–22Rev. 22:5).

Jesus was boldly saying, “The promised day of light has arrived. I am the source of everlasting joy.” He is the sun by which we see all things. 

The hostile reaction of the Pharisees to Jesus’ words is understandable, but rather than backing down, Jesus intensifies his claims. The accused now becomes the accuser—the witness takes the role of prosecuting attorney. Jesus is from above, they are from below; they are of this world, Jesus is not of this world. They charged Jesus with sin; they will remain in their sins unless they believe on him.

The gospel is an unrelenting assault on graceless religion, on all the ways we try to avoid grace. It is also a powerful demonstration of the sovereignty of God. In that very unlikely moment, many believed in Jesus. God can save anyone, anytime, anywhere. He is not constrained by human intuitions about who is really “save-able.” Grace confounds our law-saturated, self-accomplishing expectations of what activates divine mercy.

*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.