The Light of Life

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  44:25
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
We are looking at John 8:12-20 this week. I encourage you to open your bibles, or your bible apps and follow along. Those with the faithlife or logos bible apps, the passage link will appear on your screens to follow along.
John 8:12-20.
John 8:12–20 NIV
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.” The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” 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. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” 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.” 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.
There is a lot in this little portion of scripture. Let’s begin by asking the Lord to give us the spiritual understanding, so we might know how to apply this to our lives.

Jesus the Son of God

John wrote this account of Jesus that we might know that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus being God the Son means that He is fully God, the second person that makes up God who is three persons / One God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
There are two ways in which we see Jesus getting this truth across to the people to whom He was speaking at this time.
The first way we see this is that Jesus was calling God His Father.

Jesus called God his Father.

Let’s remember the setting. This passage is still taking place during the Festival of Tabernacles, which began in John 7.
The Feast of Tabernacles was one of the three annual feasts for which the Jews were to all go to Jerusalem. At this feast, they were to remember how God brought them through the wilderness, to the promised land after He freed them from slavery in Egypt.
This feast looked back to what God had done, and also looked forward to what God promised to do in the future when He will bring them into the promised Kingdom which will be when the Messiah, the descendent of David comes down to the Mount of Olives, and established the kingdom that is over all other kingdoms of the earth. This was foretold to David in 2 Samuel 7:16, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Micah and other prophets. We looked at Zechariah 14 a couple weeks ago.
At this festival recorded in John 7 & 8, there were many questions being asked to and about Jesus.
Where did He get his understanding and knowledge?
Where was He from?
Where was He going?
To each of these, Jesus gave the answer, His Father.
In John 7, He does not use the term “Father,” however that is to whom He refers.

Where did He get his understanding?

John 7:16 NIV
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.
He got His understanding from His Father the One who sent Him.

Where was He from?

John 7:28–29 NIV
Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”
They knew He was physically from Nazareth. However, He was truly from His Father who sent Him.

Where was He going?

John 7:33–34 NIV
Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
He was going to go to His Father, whom they did not know. He is going to repeat that in John 8.
In John 8:12-59, instead of continuing to say, “Him who sent me,” Jesus explicitly says, “Father.” He is making it utterly clear to them what He is saying. In fact, in this section of scripture, Jesus refers to God as His Father 20 times!
I know I can repeat myself week to week. That is because I want to be sure to tie the scriptures together as we study.
Jesus did not call God His Father 20 times over a period of weeks. This was in one discourse, in one afternoon, possibly in the course of an hour!! Probably less!
I think He was making a point, and the Jews knew it. They knew it because when He had been in Jerusalem at the feast recorded in John 5 when He healed the man who was lame at the Pool of Bethesda, He made it clear to them on that occasion that God the Father was His Father. They knew exactly what He was saying then, and on that occasion they tried to kill Him, remember?
John 5:18 NIV
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
By calling God His Father, Jesus was claiming to be God.
They knew that Jesus was calling God His Father— making himself equal with God— yet no one seized him, because His hour had not yet come.
When Jesus called Himself “the Son of God,” they knew He was claiming to be God.
The second way we know Jesus was claiming to be God was in verse 12.
John 8:12 NIV
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.”

Jesus claimed to be “I Am”

Jesus claimed to be “I am.” This is the name which God gave to Moses when He appeared to Him in the burning bush. He is the Great I AM!
He told the Samaritan woman at the well that He is the I am.
He then told the crowds He fed miraculously, “I am the bread of Life.”
Now, Jesus tells the Jews in Jerusalem, that “I am the light of the world.”
In making that claim, Jesus was claiming to be God.
Remember the context. They are celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, remembering how the Lord led their ancestors through the wilderness.
How did He lead them? With a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When you read through Exodus and Numbers, it repeats it a few times that they only moved out when the cloud and pillar of fire moved out. They stayed put when it stayed put.
When it did stay put, where was it? What was it like? It was over the tabernacle, and filled the tabernacle with glorious light!
Now, who was in the cloud and fire? God!!
That was a big part of the Feast of the Tabernacles. They would remember how God dwelt among their ancestors, and led them with a pillar of fire.
In fact, during the Feast of Tabernacles, in the court of the women, which is where Jesus was teaching, they had gigantic candelabra, fifty cubits high. which were lit during this feast. It was said that they shed their soft light over all the city!
Jesus was telling them that He was their light, the one that led them through the wilderness!
And, as we said before, the festival was looking forward to when God would come and take them into the promised kingdom, when, as Isaiah prophesied,
Isaiah 60:1–3 NIV
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
And a few verses later...
Isaiah 60:19–20 NIV
The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.
God is the source of light in His coming Kingdom!
And let’s reread Zechariah 14, which we mentioned a couple weeks ago.
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.
When the Messiah came, associated with the Feast of Tabernacles, it was going to be a day and night full of light! Just like when they had the bright cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.
What is the light that was coming? The same light as when God dwelt among their ancestors! God in His glory! He was coming to be with them!!
Now, Jesus is claiming to be that light. And in claiming to be that light of the world, He is claiming to be God!
To this, the priests scoffed, your testimony about yourself is not valid.
They forgot that they already had this conversation at the last feast, as recorded in John 5. Jesus told them at that time that John the Baptist testified to Him, His works and His Father all testified about Him.
This time Jesus lets them know that his own testimony is valid, and backed up by the Father! If they knew the Father, they would know Him. Ouch!
They knew what He was saying. He was saying that they did not know God. These were the priests and pharisees, the religious leaders! They knew it, and they did not like it! They wanted to kill Him. But no one seized Him because His hour had not yet come.
Jesus is claiming to be God, and we don’t want to miss it. This is important for us to understand. There is a lot of confusion about who Jesus is in the world. We as believers must know who Jesus is, and where the Bible makes this clear. So, let’s remember this important passage.
Now, I think we would do well to meditate on this statement by Jesus. Let’s read it again.
John 8:12 NIV
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.”
What is Jesus getting at? What does He mean by this?
Let’s break it down and examine the three parts of this statement.

“I am the Light of the world.”

What does it mean that Jesus is the Light of the world?
Well, the first part, we have mentioned.

Jesus is the Light - He is God

First, we know that He is saying that He is God, the source of Light.
God created light in the beginning. The first thing God spoke into creation was Light.
Light is closely associated with God throughout the scriptures. He dwells in inapproachable light. He is radiant, glorious! 1 Timothy says,
1 Timothy 6:16 NIV
who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
1 John says,
1 John 1:5 NIV
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
God created Light first, and it is a special reflection of Him. He has chosen to wrap Himself in Light.
Psalm 104:2 NIV
The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent
Light is pure. Light is amazing! Light just draws us to it! That is why everyone loves fireworks (not always the noise, but the display of light)! Light warms us physically, mentally, and emotionally! They treat people in the northern climates where it is dark through the winter with light to help fight depression, and other ailments.
The first point is that Jesus is God, He is our light. He is the beautiful one that we need to fix our gaze upon! He is the one that needs to capture our hearts, minds and souls! We need to be enraptured with Him, as we are with light.
The second point is this,

Jesus is the Light - He is knowledge & wisdom

He knows everything.
We often use light in the same way scripture does, as knowledge and wisdom. The lightbulb went on! The light is dawning! I see the light! These are expressions for knowledge and wisdom.
Light is used as a symbol of God’s knowledge and wisdom as revealed in the Bible.
Psalm 119:105 NIV
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 19:8 NIV
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
God’s word is knowledge and wisdom, and gives it to those who will listen.
Jesus, being the Word made flesh is the embodiment of God’s knowledge and wisdom. He knows everything! Even what we think is hidden and secret.
Psalm 90:8 NIV
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
Daniel 2:22 NIV
He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.
1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
Colossians 2:2–3 NIV
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Jesus is knowledge and wisdom. If we need knowledge and wisdom, we need to look to Him. Too often, we look to the world, and philosophies of the world to solve our problems. Jesus is knowledge and wisdom. We need to go to Him.

Jesus is the Light - grace & salvation

Over and over in the scriptures, Light is a metaphor for God’s grace and salvation.
Numbers 6:25 NIV
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
Psalm 4:6 NIV
Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us.
Psalm 31:16 NIV
Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.
Psalm 80:3 NIV
Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
He knows all of our secrets, and He is gracious and forgiving, like He was the to woman caught in adultery. When we feel guilty for our sin, we typically want to hide from the light that exposes us. Jesus wants us to come to the light, and find grace and forgiveness. And then he wants us to stay in the light, walking with Him in His grace and righteousness.
That is why the scriptures say,
2 Timothy 1:9–10 NIV
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
If you fall into some sin, don’t hide in shame. Come to the Light, to the One who already knows and find grace and peace.
Jesus is the Light, He is God, knowledge, wisdom, grace and salvation.
Now, let’s consider the next part,

“Whoever follows me”

We spent quite a bit of time looking at what Jesus means when He says follow me. What does it mean?
Learn from me - How are you doing with your time reading the Bible? How is the meditation? How is the Bible memory. Don’t give up! Keep learning from Jesus!
Love and Worship - Are you taking time to worship Him daily? We need it.
Love the Body - We cannot love and follow Him if we are not loving His body.
Love the World - The whole point of His call to follow Him is to be fishers of men. Are we fishers of men? Are we looking for, and taking opportunities to share what we are learning about Jesus?
Live in Obedience - Are we doing what He says?
If we are following Him, Jesus says,

“Will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I know that I walk in darkness every night. How about you? What does Jesus mean by this?
What is it like to walk in darkness?
Walking or living in darkness is to live in:
Jesus says, whoever is following Him will not live in these things.
Yes, we all struggle with our emotions at times. Who is never afraid? Who is never upset and depressed about circumstances? Who is never confused? Who is never hopeless? We all struggle with these things to different degrees, in different situations.
However, if we follow Jesus through those hard times, we do not have to live in fear, depression, confusion or hopelessness. If we are following Him, learning from Him, loving and worshiping Him, loving the body, loving the world, and living in obedience, it will change us! It will make us overcomers of fear, depression, confusion and hopelessness.
This is not take two verses and call me in the morning. This is active work. This is active learning, worship, loving service, and obedience. If we will do this, we will find that just like God led them through the wilderness, He will lead us through our wilderness.
Just as He provided just enough manna for them each day, He will provide what we need so we will learn to trust in Him.
He will be our pillar of cloud and fire. He will be our light as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
I know God has been faithful to me.
That is why Paul, John, Peter, James, Jude and the others could write their letters to encourage other Christians. They did not have it easy. They had it much worse than we do. But listen to what Paul writes.
2 Corinthians 4:6–11 NIV
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
Jesus is the Light of the World. He truly is our God, our knowledge and wisdom, our grace and salvation. We need to follow Him, and we will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life!
My prayer is that every one of us will have that light of life.
If you want to talk about any of the paths you are on, and are serious about wanting to walk in the light of life, it will take effort, but it will be worth it! Living in the Light is LIFE, not the way the world offers it, but true abundant life.
Let’s pray.
Study Light in the scriptures this week. What do we learn about God as He describes Himself as light?
Read and Memorize John 8:12. Meditate on it this week. Ask the Lord to show you each day what it means to follow Him and walk in the light of life. Share with others what you are learning about Jesus, and from Jesus. Look for opportunities to be a fisher of men!
Read 1 John 1. Is there any part of your life in which you are walking in darkness? Pay attention to verse 8. He knows it already. Psalm 90:8. What does this passage tell you to do about that? What will He do? Is what He will do partial, or complete?
Read Colossians 2. Jesus is the Light - wisdom and knowledge. Are there areas of your life where you struggle? In what ways do you listen to the philosophies of the world to deal with those areas? What does Jesus say about them? How will you follow Him in those areas? What does He command? What will you obey?
Read 2 Corinthians 4:6-11. Think of Paul’s life. Browse Acts 13-28 f you want a refresher. What did he go through in life? Was he following Jesus? Did following Jesus mean he had an easy life, or was it potentially harder? Even though it was harder, what did he find? Also consider 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 as well. How do you feel like you are afflicted, pressed, perplexed, struck down? Are you crushed? Are you despairing? Are you forsaken? Are you destroyed? What makes the difference? How can you actively follow Jesus in the hard times? How will you learn, love and worship him, love the body, love the world, and live in obedience?
Read the end. Where are we going? Revelation 21-22. Notice the light? What is the light? What is the great promise? What do we look forward to? What is our living hope?
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more