In John 8:12 Jesus makes the remarkable claim that he is the “Light of the World.” This phrase is very common in Christian worship today and it is possible our familiarity with these words obscures what Jesus meant by them when he spoke them during the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem.
As readers of John’s Gospel, we have known this fact since the prologue. But now Jesus declares to crowds gathered to celebrate the Feast of Dedication that he is the True Light.
Jesus makes this statement at the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, a festival celebrating the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabean Revolt in 165 B.C. After Antiochus desecrated the Temple, the Jews fought a war to re-capture Jerusalem. When the Temple was secured, the altar was replaced so sacrifices could begin again. There was not enough oil consecrated to light the menorah and it would take seven more days to consecrate more oil. They used what oil they had and it lasted for the whole eight days. This is the miracle remembered during the feast by the lighting of menorahs in homes and in the Temple.
First century Jewish historian Josephus described the feast as the “festival of lights” although some scholars doubt this description as accurate. The story of the miraculous light is not found in 1 Maccabees, so the origin of the “light” aspect of Hanukkah is not clear (ABD, “Dedication, Feast of,” 2:124). Since this saying takes place in the public courts, Jesus may very well be contrasting himself with the lights of the festival. As people are celebrating the liberation from their oppressors by the lighting of the menorah in the Temple, Jesus stands up and declares that he is the true light of the world!
By declaring he is the Light of the World, Jesus is alluding to several texts from the Hebrew Bible. There are a number of texts which describe God as light (Ps 27:1, 36:9) or the Law as light (Ps 119:105, Prov 6:23). I think it is likely that Jesus’s allusion is to the light of the Torah in this saying. The Torah is God’s word, and it is by God’s word that the the world came into being. This resonates with the prologue ion John 1 as well, since the Word was with God in the beginning and through the Word all things have been created. For a Jewish teacher to declare that they are the “light of the world” is to claim something which goes beyond what might be expected, he is claiming to be God.
Since Jesus says everyone who follows this light has life, it is possible this is also an allusion to Israel in the Wilderness. This was obvious in John 6 when Jesus provided food in the wilderness. When Israel was in the wilderness, the light is the pillar of fire which led Israel when they traveled in the wilderness.
In either case, that Jesus is the light of the world is a major theme in John’s gospel. Those who follow Jesus walk in the light, those who reject Jesus walk in the darkness. Light exposes what is hidden in the darkness. Light is always associated with truth, lies with darkness. By the end of this chapter Jesus makes it clear that to reject him is to willingly choose to remain in the darkness, those who follow Jesus are walking in the light.
If Jesus is alluding to the light of the Torah or the light provided by the glory of God in the wilderness, how does that help the reader of John’s Gospel to understand who Jesus is? What is John claiming about Jesus is this well-known saying?
34 thoughts on “John 8:12 – “I Am the Light of the World””
Reblogged this on He Is The Light.
This didn’t happen during the festival, but Yeshua is the Light of the World.
John throughout the Gospel is claiming that Jesus is the light of the world and that he is the creator because he is God. He uses the phrase as a “parable of the Pharisees spiritual blindness,” (Kostenberger, 97). The Pharisees are spiritually blind because they do not see the miracles that Jesus performs because they do not grasp the idea that he is the Messiah which is why he performs signs. John compares Jesus to this spiritual darkness by showing that life without Jesus is a life lived in spiritual darkness. The Pharisees were living like this because they did not have Jesus in their hearts. This leads to the fact that John also claims that Jesus is the life. Because Jesus is light he is life, because without Jesus, there is no life. And without life their is no light. As John puts it, Jesus is the light of life, (John 8:12, NIV). To have light, you must have Jesus and without Jesus, your life is dark. Those who are living in dark crave the light, and this is why people who are in a dark place, they crave something more. Sometimes they do not know what because they have not heard the Gospel, but deep inside they are craving the light which is Jesus. Once you believe that Jesus is the creator and that he is light, he comes into your heart and shines a light in on your darkness.
This helps the reader understand that Jesus is this Light that God has been elluding to for so long. It is showing, just as John wants to show, that Jesus and God are one, that Jesus comes from God. The connections to the Hebrew Bible show his readers that this man is who they have been waiting for, he is who God says he is. Johnis saying that without Jesus, people are in complete darkness and if they are in complete darkness, they would know this to being without God. If God’s word is this light, and Jesus is the light that he is saying he is, the there is a connection to God. Jesus is the light that will lead us, but not only is Jesus the light for the israelites, but he is the light of the world, implying that the whole world will need him and follow him.
The metaphor that is best used to describe Jesus is this: Jesus is the light. Here is why I think this metaphor fits the way it does. First off there are a few different verses that support the claim that this metaphor makes. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 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).” That is what Jesus is a light to the darkness of the world. 1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all”. Jesus is the light that could not be put out, his light continually shines. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).” The light of God came into this world and neither the world nor the power of Satan extinguish that light. The followers of Christ also reflect the light that comes from Christ, and they too are made to be a light in the world also. “You are a light to the world, a city that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-15).” Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
I believe Jesus is alluding to the glory of God when he talks about the light. Because in the very beginning of John he describes Jesus as the light of the world. This also helps us understand that Jesus and God are one yet separate. John is consistent with this point throughout his gospel and that point is that Jesus is the Messiah whom the people have been looking for. John knows that the people of Jesus’ day including his own people would not only reject but crucify him. What blows me away is that knowing all that Jesus still went through with his death for all man kind. He died for the Judas’ of the world and the Barrabas’ of the world. He knew some would never accept or acknowledge his light and yet he came for me and for you!
I would have to agree that Jesus went through all the persecution and crucifixion even though he knew there would always be people who would not accept him into their hearts because he loved us just as God loves us. You would think that when Jesus performed his miracles, everyone would be impressed. Instead, some people, more particularly the Pharisees were appalled by Jesus performing his miracles because they refused to believe that God would send someone who would come down and question everything they had learned throughout their lives and careers. Today some people will ask themselves why the Pharisees would even question Jesus’ authority given that he stated on more than one occasion he was the Son of God. I have even questioned this when I was younger. At the time I did not understand how someone could even think Jesus was a bad guy when he did so much good. I wondered why the Pharisees got so upset because Jesus performed miracles on the Sabbath when it seemed they worked on the Sabbath themselves. I still think they worked in some way on the Sabbath because they were in the Temple and I thought they were teachers. Even though people do not seem to rest on the Protestant’s Sabbath, Christians are still expected to go to church and rest, pastors are working on Sundays by preaching. Then it was brought to my attention by my parents that pastors may work on Sunday, but they have their own day of rest during the week.
John’s Gospel goes out of its way to use allusions to the Old testement as ways to describe Jesus. it would make complete sense that John would not simply be making a statement but rather that he is calling back to things like the Torah. the fact that he does this builds a better case for what he is saying to be true. it gives legitimacy to what Christ is saying and helps the reader to understand that John is saying Jesus is God. John starts his book with identifying Jesus as the word of God made flesh and this idea of Jesus being the Light of the world just as God has been a light to Israel only strengthens John’s overall narrative about Jesus
Light it self was a completely different thing back in Jesus’ day. Today we can’t completely understand it because we live our whole lives living with lights. In Jesus’ day light could be associated with life, because the sun provided the necessary light to grow food for many people. When the sun set, the darkness fell and there was little people could do, the only “defense” people had against this was oil lamps, lighting them in the dark could light a whole room. Yet I think that Jesus was talking more about shining in the darkness. There could definitely be a connection between Jesus claiming to be the light of the world, and Jesus also being the key to Eternal Life. But I think that Jesus was trying to shine a little light on the situation, and let the Jews know that He is in fact the SOn of God.
Jesus’s saying of being the light of the world shows the relation between Him and the Father. Through this saying, readers should get the idea that Jesus and God are one and share the same attributes. As in the wilderness, God showed the people of Israel light and provided safe passage throughout their journal. Those who understand the story of the wilderness could better understand who Jesus is because of the attributes God demonstrated in the wilderness. The people of Israel walked in darkness before God brought them salvation and guidance in the wilderness. The same connection could be made about Jesus as He has come to bring people out the darkness and save them from the sinful natures of the world. Everybody should follow the Light because that is the way to live faithfully in Jesus. According to Köstenberger, one thing John claims about Jesus is that the light is a moral contrast between spiritual life and spiritual death (Kostenberger, 104). To walk with Jesus means that you know the moral implications of sin and you have been opened to Jesus’s salvation and eternal life. Johns uses the word light to introduce Jesus as the one who has come from the Father. Being that God is the creator of Light and Jesus is described as the light in John gospel should tell readers He comes from God. The Son who has come down to earth to spread the word of God and to walk men through the light instead of the darkness.
Jesus came to be the light to this fallen and broken world. One of Jesus’ purpose here on earth was to proclaim the glory and splendor of God and the new life we have in him through the work of Jesus here on earth. Although people at Jesus’ time did not think that he was the actual Messiah they were unable to see Jesus and God’s work on earth. Throughout John’s gospel he was vividly showing us that Jesus was the messiah and the people just did not get the message that Jesus was giving. These people and pharisees so much didn’t like Jesus’ ministry that they put him on a cross to die. And Jesus being fully human but also the son of God knew all well that he would have to die paying the ultimate sacrifice for men. I think that would be extremely hard as I would think why they should deserve what I am doing for them? but Jesus went through with it as it was God’s will for it to be the light and savior of the world. Jesus came to be the light of the world and that’s what he did. He came to save us for our sins as we were the ones that deserved death.
With Jesus being the light of the world, we can see that this is a metaphor for protecting us against the darkness. Throughout the Bible we can see the darkness is quite obvious. Yet, Jesus came down to live here, and provide the light for us. Paul tells us to be like Christ, holy just like he is holy, and yet we find ourselves always living in darkness. John claims that Jesus is a contrast bewteen spiritual light and spiritual death. We can tell that Jesus came into the world to save the world, and not be apart of the world. This simple fact is why John uses the phrase light of the world. Jesus came into the world to save people from the darkness, the ultimate goal, and give his life so that we may clearly see.
It is in John chapter 8 that we see Jesus declaring that He is the light of the world; and as Christians today we have heard this said lots of times, but where does this comparison actually come from? While this does take place during the festival of lights, it is not likely that this is the types of light that Jesus is comparing himself to. More than likely Jesus is referring to what the Torah says about light. Going back to the prologue of the book of John, it is comparing Jesus to the Word of God which brought light into the world, and within this Jesus is claiming to be God. There is also one other possibility and that is that Jesus is alluding to the fact that the Israelites were brought out of Egypt by a pillar of fire. A light that was used to guide the way for the people to the promise land. What Jesus is comparing himself to might not be what John was trying to get at when he added this story to his gospel. It might just be the fact that in saying this Jesus is claiming to be God, and John’s goal is to tell of who Jesus really is. If anyone else were to try and claim this than people would think that they are claiming to be God, and Jesus is God therefore why He is saying it and why John has included it.
As mentioned, the readers of the Gospel of John have known that Jesus is the Light of the World since the very beginning of the Gospel. When Jesus says “I am the light of the world” in John 8:12, the setting is the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah; A celebration of a time when the menorah remained lit for a whole eight days. I believe that there is no coincidence that Jesus announced this at the Feast of Dedication. Jesus is appealing to the liberation from oppressors while he is standing up and announcing that he is the true light of the world. Jesus is essentially declaring himself as their savior, their liberator from their oppressors. I do not believe the Jews think of it in this way right away. They will not think of Jesus as a savior to them until shortly before he is crucified, cue Palm Sunday. Going back to the true light statement, this statement appeals to much of the Gospel of John thus far. Jesus states that he is the light and “anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12) Some have said that Jesus could be alluding “to the light provided by the glory of God in the wilderness”, which I can see. I had not thought of it in that way. While the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, God provided a great light for them to follow. This could be what Jesus means when he says he is the light. Jesus could be meaning he is like the great light God provided for the Israelites while they were in the wilderness.
I really like the analogy of Jesus being the Light of the word. I like it first of all because I find that a lot of people in the ministry word will use analogies to explain things like how the Holy Spirit is relatable to an egg because of the shell, the white, and the yoke. I find this to not even start to come close to explaining God. I find so often that we use stuped analogies to try to describe God and we should just stop trying, rather we should use Biblical examples to describe how Jesus is the Light of the word. I also really liked what you were saying about how when you deny Jesus you are deliberately saying no to the light, and yes to the dark. to me that is such a great point that we as Christians need to live by.
There are three statements in this verse:
I am the light of the world, those who embrace Me will experience life-giving light and they will never walk in darkness.
The first statement is quite a bold one, telling the World that He is their Light. While the second two are promises. We get to chose whether or not we embrace Jesus, but if we do, we are promised to live a life that is filled with a life-giving light that only comes from the Lord.
The other promise is that we will never walk in darkness. We never have to be scared again, for He lives in us! The great Light lives in us.
Therefore, when the darkness comes, we can rest assured that we do not have to be afraid, for His Light is greater than any of the worlds darkness.
It seems to be a common trend for Jesus to have multiple intentions and meanings behind the words He says. In John 8:12, Jesus claims to be the Light of the world. From an outside perspective, this could mean many things. As Long (2012) mentions, this could even be used for a catchy worship song (para. 1). Originally when I heard this phrase, I assumed that it meant Jesus was the guiding light who led the world down the right paths amidst the darkness (sin). After looking further into the cultural and biblical context of this verse, I came to realize that my assumption was wrong. Long (2012) and Köstenberger (2013) both make references to the relevance of the Feast of Dedication that was occurring at the time Jesus says this. This is significant because the lighting of lights was a large part of this feast’s tradition, and Jesus saying this would “point out how Jesus fulfills the essence of various Jewish festivals” (Köstenberger, 2013, p. 97). Another allusion Jesus makes that Long (2012) and Köstenberger (2013) note is how Jesus is the Word and Light (John 1:1-4). Old Testament texts, such as Psalm 27:1 and 36:9, offer the description of God being Light while other Old Testament texts, such as Psalm 119:105 and Proverbs 6:23, describe the Law being Light (Long, 2012, para.5). Both conclusions are valid as Jesus claims not only to be God but also the Law (or Word). Although understanding Jesus as the Light of the world guiding us through darkness may be applicable (and a convenient riff for a worship song), the true intent of John displaying Jesus as the Light of the world is to prove He is God and to prove He is the Word and that they are one.
When Jesus Christ makes the claim that “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). This statement can be applied to representing that Jesus Christ is both the light of the Torah and the light that was provided by the glory of God in the wilderness. The representation of Jesus Christ being the light of the Torah reflects what is written in John that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made (John 1:1-3). Because Jesus was the Word of God who became flesh in Jesus Christ, His words are what lead believers into light or spiritual and biblical truth. As for Jesus Christ also representing the light that was provided by the glory of God in the wilderness, this becomes evident in that those who follow Jesus Christ will not be lost in their sins but that through faith they will be lead by the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ to obey all that is written in the Bible. Therefore, much like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness and God became their guide, so does Jesus Christ who leads believers to truth which is written in the Bible.
A major theme throughout the book of John is that Jesus is the light of the world. John discusses this metaphor several times throughout his Gospel in order to help his readers have a better understanding of who Jesus is, as the Messiah and Son of God. First, by stating that Jesus is the light of the world, John is claiming that Jesus is the only one to provide true hope and salvation to a dark, lost world. In John 8:12, Jesus states, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” (English Standard Version). Jesus is the light by providing us the opportunity to step out of the darkness and into the light. We can transition from living a life of sin and ultimately being condemned to hell, to being set free from our sins and having our relationship with God restored because of what Jesus has done for us. The metaphor of Jesus being the True Light of the world shows that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God, as prophesied in the Old Testament (ex. Psalm 27:1, Proverbs 6:23). Just as God provided a light through the glory of God for the Israelites to follow in the wilderness, God also gave us Jesus as the True Light for us to follow. If we choose to follow him, we choose to walk in the light instead of remaining in the darkness. John 1:5 states “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” This refers to Jesus being the light and overcoming the darkness of the world. The darkness will never be able to overcome what Jesus has done on the cross to save us from our sins. If we accept him as our savior, we walk into the light of having a relationship with him instead of living for our fleshly desires.
In John 8 Jesus’ proclamation of being “the Light of the world” is significant in bringing Jews to an understanding of Christ. I think the key to understanding the significance of this passage is looking back into the Old Testament. A few of these passages are mentioned above like Psalm 36:9. When John writes of the words of Jesus it helps connect Jesus being God. By stating that Jesus is ‘the light’ John is claiming Jesus to be God which goes along with the underlying theme of the book. Throughout John it proves that Jesus is the Messiah and by connecting the meaning of being “the light” to Christ points and proclaims Jesus as the Son of God.
I believe Jesus is alluding to the glory of God when he talks about the light. Because in the very beginning of John he describes Jesus as the light of the world. Throughout John Jesus is referred to as the light of the world. In John 8:12 it talks about how people who follow and believe in Jesus will never walk in darkness and that they will have eternal life. I think that Jesus being the light of the world has to do a lot with the world being filled with darkness and sin, Jesus in John 8 says right there that He is the light and then goes on to talk about salvation right after. I think that Jesus being the light of the world means that we can have hope. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins so we wouldn’t have to remain in darkness, so we would be able to have eternal life through Him. Another reason why I think that the metaphor Jesus is the light of the world is that John is a lot about showing who Jesus is as the Son of God, and about seeing who’s going to follow Jesus and about who is still going to doubt him and I think this just relates back to John 8:12 whoever doesn’t follow Jesus will remain in darkness and who ever does follow Him can have eternal life.
This is another example of a verse I have known since I was a kid, but did not fully understand everything about it. For example, I did not realize that this took place during the Feast of Dedication. I also did not know that the Feast of Dedication was what we call Hanukkah today. Knowing all of this adds so much more to the meaning of what Jesus said. I really like the idea that Jesus may have been referring to Him being the light because it was similar to the people lighting the menorah during this time. Though that may not be the true or only reason that He called Himself the “Light of the World”, I think that it is a good parallel to be aware of. I have usually taken this as Jesus talking about Him being the light like we see in John 1. This also may not be the only reason that He calls Himself the “Light of the World”, but it certainly seems plausible. Being that John 1 is known as the prologue to the Gospel of John, it makes perfect sense for these two passages (John 1 and John 8:12) to be connected.
When it comes to understanding the meaning by John when He says that Jesus is the light of the world, I believe we are given a clear answer for us in John chapter one. John 1:4-5 says “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5, ESV). We as the readers are revealed very early on the truth about who Jesus is. Not only is He God, and not only is He the Word. This theme of light continues throughout the book of John. I believe this very concept itself is life-changing once you take a moment to understand the deep meaning behind it. Wherever Jesus is, it impossible for the darkness to not be affected by it. I believe this idea of light, has an incredible metaphoric value as it provides a powerful illustration of how Jesus shines the light on the sin and darkness of our own lives, and how through the power of the Gospel, the light (Jesus) prevails and expels the darkness (our sins.) When Jesus reveals Himself to be this very light in chapter eight, he makes this personal invitation, that features some profound theological truth: “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12b, ESV). Jesus is light, He was light during the times of the Old Testament and now in the New Testament, He is the same light, now revealed in a new way. John is telling us that Jesus is the one and only true light that can shine in the darkness.
Throughout Johns gospel he has been alluding to various different passages. Jesus is the light of the world. The whole point of the message is to let everyone know about Jesus Christ. It is interesting how the author of the blog post finds it likely that Jesus allusion is to the light of the Torah. When diving into the text and trying to get a further understanding, that it is an allusion to the Torah. The Torah is a big important piece of the Bible. Light has always been something good. When it’s raining and dark outside it can be a depressing day. When there is sunlight outside people often say it is beautiful day out. Jesus wants everyone to know he is the light of the world. When we are in Christ, we are the light to the world. Following Jesus is our light and that should make us happy. Focusing on this really made me dive into other passages about being the light of the world. If we as Christians be the light of the world we can bring others to know that Jesus is the true light, and if we follow him we can have that eternal light and life in him.
I didn’t know that the Feast of Dedication was also known as Hanukkah. I also didn’t really know the background of Hanukkah, all I really knew about the holiday was that it was Jewish and was around the same time as Christmas. The feast of Dedication or Hanukkah is still celebrated today because it is to remember the time that there wasn’t much oil left to be used to light lamps. The Jewish people didn’t have the time to make new oil in time for the Feast. So they used what little they already had. Miraculously, the lamps stayed lit for the entire 8 day time period. I think we can connect to Jesus Christ because He impacts our daily lives. We need His light in our lives to help us. I’m sure when the Jewish people put the oil in the lamps they didn’t believe they would stay lit for the whole time of the Feast. Today, there are some people who think that Jesus will give up on them and “disown” them in a way because of their sins. But just like the oil stayed lit for the 8 days; Jesus will always love us and never will give up on us no matter what we have done.
Firstly, I agree with Long in that the oversimplification of Jesus being the “light of the world” within churches and communities of believers waters down what Jesus was saying in John 8. Jesus, in John 8, is presenting his identity once more to many Jews, and is using Old Testament references to draw out the richness of what he is proclaiming. John 8:12 states, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” This statement is huge in and of itself, because Jesus is revealing who he is. Kostenberger states, “Jesus fulfills OT promises of the coming of the “light” of salvation and the “light” of God” (p.2039). In this statement, Jesus is proclaiming to be God, the light of the world fulfilling the Old Testament passages referring to this. Psalm 27:1 states, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” Not only that, but the term “light” is also referring to the light of God in the wilderness in the Old Testament, which is another reference that the Jewish crowds would understand. For Jesus to claim that he is God is a HUGE deal, and by him using this language referring to the Old Testament, those he is talking to will understand who he proclaiming to be, and the importance of who he is claiming to be.
In John 8, Jesus clearly claims that He is the “light of the world” (v. 18), which has a very significant, spiritual meaning. First of all, as discussed in other replies, John discusses in the early part of his gospel that Jesus is in fact the light of the world, that He could overcome the darkness in this world, and that the darkness could not overcome the light (John 1:4-5). This “darkness” refers to sin, and being separated from God. When Jesus heals the man-born-blind outside of the tabernacle, He fulfills the symbolism of Him being the Light of the World (Köstenberger, p. 103). While this action brings physical light and healing to the man, it also provides evidence to Jesus being the “Light of the World” because He can heal spiritual blindness. The Jews/Pharisees lived in darkness (sin), which is still an issue in today’s society (John 1:5, 10-11). This spiritual blindness creates a barrier in coming to salvation in Christ. With Jesus fulfilling this symbolism from the Feast of Tabernacles, it provides evidence to a salvation in the Jewish Messiah. Understanding that Jesus is the “Light of the World”, and knowing that He provided people around Him with evidence, brings comfort to the fact that He can save people from the darkness and their own spiritual blindness.
For someone to claim they are “the Light of the World” would be quite a big deal and blasphemous. It is also an interesting visual as I picture a candlestick next to the world with darkness all around. Light in itself is comforting (unless you are having a migraine). Sadly in the end, even though when light came into the world men still loved the darkness rather than the light as their deeds were evil (John 3:19). This is a moral contrast: between spiritual life and death, failure to see the moral implications of one’s sin, as well as connoting life that is lived in full view of reality of one’s own sinfulness and the need for salvation (Köstenberger, 114).
Even when Jesus makes claims that He is the “Light to the World”, the Pharisees still try to seek flaws in Him and point out that he cannot make a claim like this with His own authority (Long, 2). This is the case that the Pharisees would use His words against Him from John 5:31 that if one bears witness by himself, his testimony is invalid (Long, 2). Jesus then affirms that the source of His authority is His Father.
Jesus is the light of the world and like throughout the bible light is a metaphor for truth. Darkness represents the unknowing population when the light grows and gets stronger the darkness fades away. When Jesus claims that He is the light, He is attempting to reference his presence on earth in term of past contexts. Light is also represented as the beginning in the Creation story light was created on the first day, as well as darkness. Through the presence of light and proper nourishment all things grow and prosper. The reason Jesus had to come to earth was to break apart the darkness and sever the hold on the people. The pillar of fire that led the Israelites through the dessert was the truth guiding them from their wrongful ways towards the path of redemption. Light is everywhere and an individual must make a deliberate decision to remain in the darkness once they are confronted with the light (the Truth). “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:10). The bible is our light our truth and our way to salvation. We must decide to remain within the path of the light, or the darkness with take us over.
Referring to Jesus as the Light of the World is something that I have been exposed to for a very long time. To be honest, I never gave it a second thought. After reading this blog post, I was amazed to find out how calling yourself “The Light of the World” was actually a big blasphemy to the Jews. After reading this and understanding; honestly, it really makes sense. I constantly find myself looking at the Bible in my time’s context instead of looking at the real context. A common mistake for inexperienced scholars; nonetheless, I was excited that I learned something new.
Anyway, it is the fact that in John 8 Jesus is in the Temple during the Feast of Dedication that is important. Yes, many churches oversimplify how Jesus claimed that He is the Light of the World. This was huge. He was in front of a large crowd, during a big event, and he claimed that he was God. This was really dangerous for Him. He is indeed God, but to the Jews, this was the biggest offense. I think all Christians should model this in their lives. Obviously we are not God, but we can in fact stand up for the truth in front of any dangerous crowd. I realize after writing this that it is a really bad example, but hey I thought it sounded good at the time.
Jesus is the light of the world. John 8:12 is such a needed reminder for us as we continue our paths in this dark and sinful world as Christians. As we pray for our country, we can rest by knowing that Jesus is in control even though our country is divided. I am grateful that the Pharisees question Jesus. In that, I am in awe of the responses that Jesus gives to the Pharisees. In Kostenberger it is said, “that the term “light” is linked with “life” in furthermore emphasizes each other. This is so true. When Jesus speaks and we are open to what he has to say is when the transformation begins.
In John 8:12 when Jesus claims to be the light of the world, He is claiming to be God. There are several reasons as to how and why Jesus claimed to be God by saying that He is the light of the world. One being that God is described as light in the Old Testament (Psalm 27:1, 36:9) as well as the law (Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 6:23). Jesus was most likely making a reference to the light that is in the Torah. “The Torah is God’s word, and it is by God’s word that the world came into being” (Long). Jesus also could have been making a reference to the wilderness period. In John 6 Jesus provided food in the wilderness and was Himself the light. During the wilderness period Israel was led by the light (a pillar of fire) when they traveled into the wilderness. I think that Jesus could have been alluding to the Torah and or the wilderness period. Both possible connections to the Old Testament demonstrate that Jesus, the light of the world is God and will lead those who follow Him in the darkness.
Just as the Torah reveals sin (just as Paul said in Romans 7:7), so too does Jesus in the sense that He lived sinlessly and reveals the sinfulness of those who learn of His life and hear His message. It is important to note the wording of Jesus’ statement in that He is declaring Himself to be the light of the world, and not just the light of Israel. As Kostenberger points out on page 97 of his book, the message of the light coming into the world bringing life would “be a meaningful and powerful message to jew and gentile alike.”
Jesus makes a similar declaration about those who follow Him in Matthew 5:14-16. He also points out the fact that light cannot be hidden. The reach of His light is not bound to the confines of a physical nation to be studied and known in His entirety by the literate elite of a largely illiterate culture. Rather, He and all who follow Him shine across the entire globe with an invitation to join a spiritual nation unaffected by man-made borders.
Kostenberger suggests that this discourse is meant both to engage the occasion of the festival, but is also meant to make the reader of the gospel recall the healing of the man born blind (Kostenberger, p.97). In this way John manages to create a sort of dual engagement, showcasing Jesus engaging is audience by appealing to the themes and ideas of current events and occasions, and also engaging the reader who has seen a man whose life has previously been in darkness have his eyes opened to the light. Additionally, Kostenberger highlights that the bonding of the ideas of God and the light has a rich tradition within the existing Old Testament text (Kostenberger, p.97). With this Jesus’ message, and John’s recording of this message create layers of engagement and thematic depth, by appealing to seasonal events, recent history, and textual traditions of the past. Undoubtedly, someone familiar with all these things would have their mind swarm with imagery upon first hearing them.