Summary: The Light of the World shines in moral darkness, religious darkness, and physical darkness.
I AM series #2
I AM the Light of the World
John 8:12; 9:5
This summer we’re looking at the I AM statements of Jesus. All 8 of these statements are recorded in the Gospel of John. Last week we saw that right after feeding the 5,000 Jesus told the crowds I AM the Bread of Life. Jesus tended to use current events as a way of revealing the truth about who He is.
Today we’re looking at John chapters 8 and 9. These events probably took place in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication. This feast was sometimes called The Feast of Lights. During the feast, a candle stand --- called a Menorah ---was lit in the temple. During the Feast of Lights, Jesus came to the temple courts to teach the people. The lights of the great Menorah may have been His backdrop when he made this announcement: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
Recently we had a Precept class on Covenants. One of the things we learned was that the furniture in the Tabernacle symbolized the coming Messiah. For example, the holy place of the tabernacle contained a table of showbread. Jesus declared himself to be the bread of life. Right across from that table was the Golden Candle Stand. This impressive candle stand provided the only light in the Holy Place. In our text today, Jesus declared that he is the light of the world. It is fascinating that the more we study the items in the tabernacle, the more we see how they foreshadow the coming of God’s anointed One. Jesus is the fulfillment of everything the Tabernacle and the Temple stood for.
1. The Light shines in Moral Darkness John 8:1-11
It was near dawn when Jesus announced, I am the light of the world. The sun was rising and the darkness was lifting. But some of the religious leaders had been searching in the darkness for a way to set a trap for Jesus.
Picture the scene: A group of people have gathered around Jesus, eager to hear his teaching. Jesus sits down and begins to teach them. Suddenly they are rudely interrupted by a group of religious leaders who break into the circle, dragging a disheveled and terrified woman behind them. “Teacher,” they say, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" John 8:4-5
They thought they had Jesus there. If he imposed the law, he would lose his popularity. After all, stoning was an ugly business. But if he showed mercy, he would be breaking Jewish law. They could use that as an excuse to arrest him.
Well, Jesus did not excuse the woman. But he did not accuse the woman either. In fact, for several moments he said nothing. He simply bent down and wrote in the sand. I think it must have been absolutely quiet when he finally stood up, looked straight at the woman’s accusers, and said, “Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Now we don’t know what Jesus had written in the sand. People have theories about it, but we weren’t there to see it. What we can see is that at that moment, Jesus was the light of the world for the accused woman. His light illuminated the deep Moral Darkness of the woman caught in adultery. The way it reads, it sounds like this accused woman may have been cowering with her eyes closed. She must have been braced for the blow of the first rock. Then Jesus asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
When the woman looked up, she saw that all of her accusers were gone. One by one they had turned away and left the scene. You see, the light of Jesus did not just shine on the accused woman. His light had also illuminated the Moral Darkness of her accusers. These Religious Leaders could not condemn the woman because they had come face to face with their own guilt.
That’s the way it is when the Light of Jesus shines in the Moral Darkness. All of our sins are illuminated. Whether you are an obvious sinner like the woman in this account --- or even if you are a supposedly “upstanding citizen” like the Religious Leaders who accused her --- the Light of Jesus will expose the stark ugliness of every sin.
The sad truth is that many people avoid the light of Jesus. They avoid Him because it is painful to face the light. The Light of Jesus will force you to face your own guilt. But the amazing thing is that Jesus does not want to condemn you. Look at the words Jesus spoke to the woman caught in adultery.