Verse of the Day Devotion: John 8:12
“Again, therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – John 8:12
Over the next seven weekdays, we will be looking at seven verses where Jesus declares “I AM”, and then gives a metaphor regarding what He is. Today, we will look at the second of these, “I am the Light of the World.”
Just prior to this verse, Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and was approached by scribes and Pharisees who brought a woman caught in the act of adultery, interrupting His teaching. It is understood that adultery was exceedingly common at this time, so common that they had ceased to put the law in force against it. The waters of jealousy were no longer drunk, the culprits or those suspected of this crime, being so very numerous; and the men who were guilty themselves dared not try their suspected wives, as it was believed the waters would have no evil effect upon the wife, if the husband himself had been criminal. However, at this time, the Jewish leadership decided to test Jesus regarding the Mosaic Law. “And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst, now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” John 8:4-5. They asked Him several times about this, and so Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. However, they persisted in asking, so He stooped again, writing in the dirt with His finger and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7b. At this point, every one of her accusers left and only the woman remained. While they could not trap Him, He trapped them in their hypocrisy. He then asked her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” John 8:10. Then He told her He also does not condemned her and therefore she is to go and sin no more.
So, resuming His teaching in the temple He proclaims a powerful statement regarding Himself. In our focus verse He says, “Again, therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. Now, this was a powerful statement that probably caught the people’s attention. Jesus’ words of announcement in this context would have sounded like an outrageous claim to the ears of the Pharisees. He went beyond the usual religious assertions of enlightenment and claimed to be the luminary itself. The Pharisees probably knew that the coming one would be called a light, and this would not have been taken well. “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” Isaiah 42:6-7. Thus, in His claim to be the light of the world, He was claiming to be the ‘sent one’ who would be a light to the nations. We also see in the Psalms, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Who shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Who shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1.
There are two types of light in the world. We can perceive one, both, and neither! When we are born into this world, we perceive physical light, and by it we learn of our Creator’s handiwork in the things we see. However, although that light is good, there is another Light, a Light so important that the Son of God had to come to both declare and impart it to men. 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 have the light of life.’” The allegory used by the Lord in this verse speaks of the light of His Truth, the light of His Word, the light of eternal Life. Those who perceive the true Light will never walk in spiritual darkness.
And when He left at His ascension, He kept the light shining, through His disciples. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. His light has not gone away, it still shines from Him, however it is reflected off us into the world. Through our lives, the world can see the truth as opposed to deception, and the light of life as opposed to the darkness where many still reside. And through our witness, all who see and hear will be able to join us in the light by accepting Christ as their Savior and Lord. It is our job to spread this light, as Jesus did, showing all the truth of the gospel which leads to life in the light for all who believe.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.