Summary: Why did Jesus use "Light" to explain His deity to people? In what way does Light speak to us today?
I AM the Light of the World
INTRODUCTION: Jesus’ claim to be “the light of the world” is one of SEVEN claims in the scriptures concerning His deity. In the next few weeks I will be talking about three of the other claims. In various scriptures, He talks about being the light. In John 8:12 He spoke, “I AM the light of the world: he that followed me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.”
Some background as to why He used the word “light” in this scripture to make His claims of deity was that during the Feast of Tabernacles in the temple court there were great golden lamps used to light the area during the feast. As He spoke these words, He was standing in the treasury (vs. 20) and was relating the natural light to the spiritual light--the inexhaustible source of the true light. Even though these lamps shone brightly each day, his light shone more brightly into the world of darkness.
Immediately upon making this claim, the Pharisees said, “You’re talking about yourself here and this is not true.” The Jews recognized the term “I AM” as a term for deity. The term speaks of self-existence and eternal being. You will remember back in the book of Exodus when Moses was to go to Pharoah and he asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharoah? When they ask who is the God of the Israelites what shall I say?” God said, “tell them I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). So Jesus is using this term of deity that the Pharisees all understood--”I AM the light, I AM the Way, I AM the door.” There are 7 of these “I AM’s” given in the scripture that relate to natural things that they all understood. By these, Jesus made His claims to deity.
How can we relate to these things?
1. The Purpose: Why was LIGHT one of the great claims of Jesus? What was the purpose of the light? There were several things, but one of the main purposes for Jesus coming into the world was to expose sin and darkness. The Pharisees did not like the light shining on them to expose their attitudes and deeds. People who were in sin did not like the light to expose their sin.
ILLUSTRATION: If you turn over a log in the woods, the bugs will scurry everywhere, not because they fear you but because the light is repulsive to them.
John 3:19-20 says, “and this is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
The Pharisees got very upset when Jesus made his claim, “I AM the Light,” and they fought Him on this claim.
Can you think of a dying person refusing a doctor? Or a starving person rejecting food? Or a drowning person refusing a lifeboat? A freezing person refusing a warm coat? Yet this was exactly what happened when Jesus, the Light, came into a darkened world. He was rejected by many people then just as he is now because:
1. The nature of humans is sinful
2. Those who live in darkness don’t want their evil deeds exposed
3. The prince of darkness, Satan, rules in the hearts of unbelievers
What does this say to us?
2. Light is Revealing: to both unbelievers and believers alike. We may think we are OK living in sin and not think it is necessary to come to church, but when we do, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us through SHINING LIGHT on us as we really are. In that light Thomas saw himself and cried out, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Peter more than once stood in the light of Jesus’ power and awesomeness and said, “Go away from me for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8).
Story: A famous picture hangs in St. Paul’s cathedral in London, and it is called the “Light of the World.” It is a picture of Jesus knocking at the door. Because this picture was hanging in a place near some busy roads, it got dusty and began to lose its color. The Cathedral authorities decided to get it cleaned. When the art specialist took it out of the frame and shined a light on it, they saw some words that no one was intended to read. The artist had written many years earlier, “Forgive me, Lord Jesus, that I kept you waiting at the door so long.” He had known about Jesus but waited a long, long time before responding to the invitation. The LIGHT had shown up these words; and in the end, he sent the message to thousands who gazed upon the picture. It was good that these few words were brought to the light.