“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.’ ” John 8:12
Jesus has been attending the Feast of Tabernacles service at the temple and teaching the people using ceremonies associated with the feast as a launching point for statements he’s made and lessons he‘s taught.
A few days ago we looked at a statement he made that related to the water ceremony; it’s believed that Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the light of the world,” was also inspired by a ceremony, the light ceremony, celebrated during the Feast of Tabernacles. In the light ceremony, the two pillars standing at the entrance of the Tabernacle, within the Temple, were moved into the middle of the Temple court and fires were lit on the top of them. This ceremony recalled God’s gift of light and warmth at night, during Israel’s exodus from Egypt, when the pillar of cloud was transformed into a pillar of fire. It also looked ahead, with hope, to the time when God’s presence would be restored and his people would once again live in his light and warmth. The book of Revelation foresees the fulfillment of the promise contained within this ceremony when it tells about the city New Jerusalem not needing the sun to provide light because the Lamb is there and He’s all the light it needs.
Jesus identifies himself with the light with a bold proclamation, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” in this proclamation Jesus is promising that we will find in him all the light we need to guide us in life and all the warmth we need for comfort and hope. He’s also promising that he will be the One that will ultimately fulfill the promise of light and warmth when God’s creation is at last restored.
The Jewish leaders only found in Jesus’ proclamation further reason to object to him but the apostle John, and others who believe in Christ, find Jesus to be exactly who he claimed he was. Jesus is the light of the world.
John employed the truth of Jesus being the light in the first chapter of both his Gospel account and his first letter to the Christian Church; in both documents John also describes two different responses the light of Christ. The first is to accept and rejoice in the light. Those who do this are given the power to become children of God and live Christlike lives. The second response is to prefer the darkness and choose to continue living in it. These people deny the testimony of Christ about himself, and their condition, they remain children of their father the devil, and eventually join Satan in warring against the Son of God, and ultimate destruction.
O friend, the light of Jesus still shines as a beacon to guide the lost to him and to safety. If you come to him and accept him he will give you freedom from sin, life, and the comfort of the Father’s acceptance. Won’t you choose to accept and follow the Light of Jesus today.