I Am...Light of the World

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Jesus says I am the Light of the World and the Pharisee's are not having it.



Background on the Feast of Booths

-Week long celebration commemorating the 40 years of wondering in the wilderness
-People built booths to live in during the celebration.
-In the temple (where Jesus taught from in our passage) 4 enormous lamp stands were erected in the Woman’s court and worshipers would gather to hear Priests read Psalms like Psalm 134:1-2
Psalm 134:1–2 NIV
Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.
-There was the reminder that God led them in the wilderness as a flame by night but there was also the hope that prophet Zechariah spoke of, Zech 14:7
Zechariah 14:7 NIV
It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.
In fact it was from this prophet that we receive our understanding of this celebrations importance Zech 14:16
Zechariah 14:16 NIV
Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
-However at this time the Romans had come and and removed these lampstands. It would seem that the the God had been overthrown by Rome.
-I wonder, what did they think of Zechariah now?
Read John 8:12-30.

Key Points:

1. With the Feast of Booths in the background, “I am the light of the world” takes on a significant meaning.

-Jesus is making it clear, he is the the who ultimate fulfillment of the the feast.
-You don’t need the lampstands, I am the light.
-The imagery of light is one that any reader would be able to understand. Light = Good
-Following Jesus is living in the light, by contrast those who do not live in the darkness. Darkness = Evil
-But let’s not overlook the fact that Jesus uses some very specific language when he says “I am”.
-This is the 2nd of 7 times Jesus uses “I am” this way and we know that the number 7 has a very specific meaning in biblical literature.
- Saying “I am” this way would have taken them right back to Moses and the burning bush.
-What might have set the Pharisees off even more was the claim that he was the light of the world and not just the light of the Israels.
-He’s already made Messianic claims. The Messiah was for the Jews, not the whole world.
Perhaps they forgot the words of Isaiah in
Isaiah 49:6 NIV
he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
The fulfillment of course in Revelation 21:23-24
Revelation 21:23–24 NIV
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
-Instead of attacking his claim of being the light of the world the Pharisees go in another direction.

2. There is an objection to the validity Jesus’ testimony.

-Like an objection in a courtroom.
-Jesus does not defend himself here, He’s already done this: John 5:31
John 5:31 NIV
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.
-Rather he exposes their ignorance on the matter. You don’t know where I’ve come from and you don’t know where I’m going. (vs. 14)
-We have the benefit of seeing John emphasize this over and over again in his Gospel.
-John expects us to remember the opening lines of his gospel as he over and over again points out the Jesus has come to us from the Father.
-When that point blank as Jesus where is Father is he hits them with his scalding indictment, John 8:19
John 8:19 (NIV)
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.”
-As the conversation continues and Jesus talks about his eventual death, resurrection and ascension the Pharisees ask even more questions that expose their ignorance.
- “I am from the above”—Of God
- “you are from below”—not hell but certainly not of God.
-Jesus making a distinction between the spiritual world and the material world.
-But look how strongly Jesus points to belief in in him. If you can’t figure this out, you die in your sins.
With leads to a question...

3. There is a question over who Jesus is. (vs. 25)

-Exasperated at this point Jesus says “you’ll see” as he points to what is to come by saying
John 8:28–29 NIV
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. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”
-Lifted up is also going to take them back to the wilderness (Numbers 21) when Moses lifted up the bronze snake to bring healing to the people.
-I thinks this is clear indication that Jesus knew exactly what was going on. He was on mission and he and the Father were operating in perfect harmony.
I like the little observation John gives us in verse 30, many were coming to believe in him.

Application & Implications

1. Wherever the Light of Jesus shines, that place is a better place.

-We have the responsibility to be the light of Christ where ever we go.
-We look forward to the day when the Kingdom of God comes in it’s fulness but that does not mean that we ought not shine in the world today.
-Think about the line from the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

2. There is no place in John's gospel for universalism (everyone will be saved).

-The idea of universalism is not a new one.
-The Scriptures all full of examples of God making distinctions.
-How ever the choice is ours, God doesn’t send anyone to Hell that didn’t make the decision on their own to go there.

3. We should really take the time to get to know Jesus.

-Getting to know Jesus is getting to know the Father who sent him.
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