Summary: Jesus has told us in His own words: He is the only true light leading to salvation!
The Light of the World
In His Own Words
Text: John 8:12
Jesus made an incredible statement to the Jews in response to a discussion about the greatness of Abraham. This is what Jesus said:
John 8:58 (NASB) Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
“I AM” is the name God gave of Himself when speaking to Moses Exodus 3:14. At that point the Scripture says that the Jews began to pick up stones to stone Jesus. They knew that He was claiming to be God and that was blasphemy to them but Jesus was simply stating the truth.
Throughout the book of John, Jesus makes claims about Himself. Each statement speaks to a particular relationship of Jesus to the spiritual needs of men and women. It is my desire and hope that this sermon series will deepen our knowledge and appreciation of our matchless savior. Last week we looked at the statement: “I AM the Bread of Life” This week we are going to focus on Jesus’ statement found in John 8:12 “I AM the Light of the World.”
I.About the Text:
1.In the background of this text, we have the feast of tabernacles (John 7:37).
a.Also called the feast of ingathering (referring to the gathering of crops) or the feast of booths as it was named by God in Leviticus 23:33-44
b.This feast was designed (1) to be a memorial of the wilderness wanderings, when the people dwelt in booths, and (2) to be a harvest thanksgiving.
c.In addition to the prescribed sacrifices the Jews performed two additional observances during the feast.
2.Ceremony of Water Libation
a.Every morning of the feast there was a joyous procession to the Pool of Siloam, with music, headed by a priest with a golden pitcher (a little over 2 pints). As the sacrifice proceeded, the priest returning with the water entered through the Water Gate (named for this event). With a threefold trumpet blast he poured the water into a silver receptacle on the altar.
b.This reminded them of the water brought out of the rock in the wilderness at Horeb; it also became associated with looking to the Lord for the rains.
3.Lighting the Temple
a.At the end of the first day of the feast, the worshippers congregated in the Court of Women where a great illumination took place. Four huge golden lamps or candelabras, each with four golden bowls were filled with oil by four youths of priestly descent. They had to use four ladders for this task. According to Rabbinic writings, "There was not a court in Jerusalem that was not lit up by it". Around the lamps a sacred dance was conducted and prominent leaders with flaming torches in their hands. This was accompanied by Levites playing harps, lutes, cymbals, trumpets and "instruments without number" standing on the fifteen steps leading up from the Court of Women to the Court of Israel.
b.In this seasonal celebration the people remembered that as well as the rain, plenty of sunshine was needed and the people were thanking God for the sunshine and acknowledging him as the true light who would give them spiritual life through the Messiah.
c.The symbolism of this event looked back to when God led Israel in the wilderness with the pillar of fire and His presence had dwelt in the Tabernacle. And forward to the future Messiah who would be the light of YHVH arising on the people
It was with this ritual in the backdrop that Jesus made the statement recorded in John 8:12.
II.Jesus… said, I am the Light of the world
John 8:12 (NASB) Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
1.Jesus was proclaiming the fulfillment of prophesies of Isaiah to those in Jerusalem.
a.Isaiah 9:1-2 (NASB) 1But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. 2The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.”
b.Isaiah 42:6 (NASB) “I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.”
2.They had failed to realize that Isaiah predicted that a great light would shine in Galilee, bringing illumination to those who lived and walked in darkness and death. As the language Jesus used in 8:12 echoed Isaiah 9:2, he was pointing to himself as the fulfillment of that prophecy.