Summary: # 25 in Series. Jesus proclaims himself to be the light of the world.
A Study of the Book of John
“That You May Believe”
Sermon # 25
“Jesus the Light of the World”
John 8:12, 24-30 (v. 12 key verse)
The Feast of the Tabernacles is the last of the seven annual feasts of Israel commanded by God, and one of the three feasts that all Jews were required to attend. For seven days each year the Jews celebrated the Feast of the Tabernacles. God had inaugurated this feast to help the people of Israel to remember that for forty years they had wandered in the wilderness before God finally brought them into the Promised Land.
Now there are two important aspects to the way the Jews celebrated the Feast of the Tabernacles; that made it very different from any of the other annual feasts.
The first was that for those seven days the entire nation camped out. That is, every family moved outdoors into temporary shelters made of branches and leaves to remind themselves of the hardships that their ancestors had under-gone while living in tents during the 40 years in the wilderness.
The second was that on the opening night of the celebration a couple of giant Menorah or candelabras were erected in the Court of the Women. Each was reported to be 75 ft. tall, with huge bowls at the top. Each bowl held 10 gallons of oil. The wicks were made from the old, no longer useable garments of the priests. Then with great pomp and ceremony the bowls were lit. Ancient accounts said that the light from these huge candelabra literally lit up the streets of Jerusalem. At the end of the feast, the lights were purposely put out. Why? because the Messiah had not yet come. Some scholars propose that it is at this point that Jesus makes his declaration.
Every Jewish person knew the sign-ificance of the menorahs. They represented the presence of God among the Israelites in the wilderness in the form of the Shekinah. It was this visible presence of God in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night that guided the children of Israel.
It is against this backdrop of events that Jesus makes His declaration in verse twelve,
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
There are three things I want us to examine this morning concerning Jesus’ claim to be “the light of the world”!
First, His Credentials As Light
Light is a symbol that has been used in through out the Bible in connection with Christ.
Isaiah used it in his great prophecy of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:2 which states, The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.”
Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, used it when he prophesied of the coming Christ in Luke 1:78-79, as “the Dayspring from on high has visited us; (79) To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.”
When the aged Simeon took the baby Jesus into his arms as he was dedicated at the Temple (as recorded in Luke 2:32) he spoke of Him as “A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
At the beginning of Christ’s ministry Matthew makes the connection with the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy when he says, (Matt 4:16) “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.”
John in writing his gospel declared concerning Christ (John 1:4-5) “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (5) And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
Later in explaining why people are condemned who reject the light of Christ John stated (John 3:19-20) “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
We are examining not only His credentials as the light but …
Secondly, His Claim To Be The Light.
It is worthy of note that Jesus is not simply saying that he was “a” light to the world or that he was “another” light to the world. Jesus is not saying that He is holding the light or that He has the light or even that He is the way to the light. He is declaring that He is the one and only light of the world.