Summary: Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." Some Bible scholars suggest that Jesus may have timed the saying of these words with the lighting of the giant Menorah. (PowerPoint available -#252)
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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TEXT: John 8:12; 1:4-12
A. Last year I preached on the scripture passage that includes these words, "The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty." (Psalm 74:20)
And you realized the Psalmist was saying that "the dark places of the earth," the places where people live in superstition & fear, where God is not known, those places are filled with cruelty, violence, & despair.
But in contrast to that, Jesus said in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
B. Bible scholars believe that Jesus spoke these words at a very special moment - during the 7-day Feast of Tabernacles.
God had inaugurated this feast to remind them that He had led their ancestors during their 40 years in the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day, & a pillar of fire by night.
So on the opening night of this celebration a giant Menorah with large bowls of oil was set up on the temple grounds. Then with great pomp & ceremony, the bowls of oil were set afire. And ancient accounts say that the light from this giant Menorah on the temple mount lit up the streets of Jerusalem below.
C. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus was speaking to the people on the Temple mount - probably near the giant Menorah. Bible scholars suggest that Jesus may have timed the saying of these words with the lighting of the Menorah.
So that when suddenly the darkness of the evening was dispelled by the towering flames, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
PROP. Well, whether or not Jesus chose that moment, what He said is very important, so important that we need to understand what He meant by it.
I. "I WILL GUIDE AND PROTECT YOU"
A. First of all, I think that when Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life," He was saying that "I will be with you, & guide & protect you."
Even as God had led their ancestors through the wilderness into the promised land, so Jesus will also be with us.
In fact, He made that promise again in His last words before He ascended to heaven. He told us to go into all the world, & then said, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20 KJV).
APPL. To our missionaries this is a very precious promise. When you're half?way around the world, separated from family & friends, living in a different culture, surrounded by people who know & care nothing about God, you can feel so alone & so dependent upon God's presence & protection in your life.
ILL. I like the story of the grandfather who took his little grandson for a walk in the woods. As they were walking along they stopped for a moment & the grandfather asked, "Do you know where we are?" The little boy said, "No."
The grandfather asked, "Do you know where we're going?" The little boy again said, "No." The grandfather chuckled, "Well, I guess you're lost then." The boy looked up at his grandfather & said, "No, I'm not lost. I'm with you."
SUM. And when Jesus is with us we are never lost. He is our light & our salvation. Of whom should we be afraid?
II. "I AM THE TRUE LIGHT"
A. In John 1:4-5, writing about Jesus, the apostle John says, "In Him was life, & that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."
Then in vs’s 9-12 John says, "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, & though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.
“He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."
B. Now folks, you know that I grew up in a missionary family, & spent the first few years of my life on the China?Tibetan border. But this morning I want to look through the eyes of someone visiting that part of the world for the very first time.
You see, a few years ago, Dennis Slaughter, then minister of Valley View Christian Church in Dallas, along with the chairman of their mission committee, visited the missionaries their congregation supports in Thailand.