Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” -John 8:12
I don’t like the dark. The dark makes me feel edgy, nervous, and cold. Many people are afraid of the dark. But as soon as we flip the light switch on or a torch, things are much better. We want to be able to see where we are going and what is in the room. Jesus came to the earth as Light. He still is the Light of the world. Following Jesus means that we too should shine His light to the dark world around us. Let’s take a look at what Jesus says.
Verse 12 starts off by Jesus saying He is the Light of the world. Do you remember what it was like before you met Jesus? How has life changed since you became friends with Him? An encounter with Jesus changes us. Because Jesus is light, He reveals anything that is sin or darkness in our lives. This many times can be painful and we don’t want to see it, because as I said, darkness can feel cold, and bring fear, and anxiety. However, Jesus wants to show us His light in the midst of the darkness so we can deal with past sins, hurts, and unforgiveness. This allows us to walk forward in light.
Biblical law required that a person’s testimony had to be verified by the testimony of others. Deuteronomy 19.15 says “One witness will not be sufficient to convict a person of any offence or sin of any kind; the matter will be established only if there are two or three witnesses testifying against him.” The Pharisees were trying to use the Law’s requirement to challenge Jesus’ claim to be the light of the world. Jesus answers their challenge in verses 14-18. Jesus declares He doesn’t judge others as the leaders have judged Him. He judges by what God tells Him to do and Jesus does not do this alone. He brings up what they said about their Law and the two witnesses and explains to them that He stands alone with God, His witness as His Father.
The Pharisees misunderstand what Jesus is saying. We can tell by their reaction in verse 19. They don’t see God as Jesus’ Father. In their minds they see Joseph as the father and cannot comprehend how Jesus could declare God as His Father. They had no clue what Jesus was on about. Jesus told them if they knew God the Father, they would know Him as well.
Jesus then tells the people in the temple He was going away and they were going to die in their sins because they cannot find Him. The people thought Jesus was going to kill Himself, but of course we understand from the Bible that it wasn’t His time to die yet. He explains to them that He is not of this world, He is from above. In verse 24, Jesus says “If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” And the people begin to ask “Who are you?” Jesus answered them “Who I have already claimed to be.” How much clearer could Jesus explain? We have to believe that Jesus is who He says He is. The light cannot be in us if we do not believe His testimony.
Jesus’ opponents will only realise who He was when they have “lifted up the Son of Man”. If they seek the Lord, He will be found. He will bring light into their darkness. Philippians 2 tells us that every knee will bow and every tongue confess whether they are on the earth, under the earth or above the earth that Jesus Christ is Lord. If people do not humble themselves here, they will be humbled with the return of Christ on judgement day. Everyone will lift up the Son of Man and will see who He truly is.
The problem is our society does not believe Jesus is who He says He is. Most people have shunned Jesus and say He was a good man or a prophet. The majority of our world are living in darkness and desperately need the Good News of Jesus. I think the problem is people have been hurt too often by religion. They have become sceptical because of cults, lies, and pain. The church throughout the generations has hurt people in too many ways. Instead of showing the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, we have showed darkness because of intolerance and indifference.
What is our personal testimony about Jesus to the people we spend time with? What is our corps testimony to the community in which we live? What would people say about the validity of our testimony? Jesus said, “I always do what pleases the Father”. If we are to have a valid testimony, we need to always endeavour to please the Father. We know how to do this, the question is are we doing it. Jesus lived up to His name. At the end of our bible reading, many followed Him. Jesus does not want anyone lost. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. Everyone is important to God.
Jesus goes on to say in verses 31-32 “If you obey what I say, then you are really my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free!” Truth hurts but it sets us free enabling us to be who God wants us to be. What things are we trying to hide from God? He knows everything already. We may be able to put up a front to other people, but God knows the desire of our hearts. We are called to be His light to the nations. Let us let God be God in our lives and let go of all of the darkness. Allow His light to penetrate our very being.
How can we shine the Light to this dark world around us? First of all we must be right with Jesus. If we don’t have that daily relationship with Him there is no way the light resides within us. If we do have a relationship with Christ, then we need to shine the light. Matthew 5.14 says we are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden. We must not hide the light because of fear of what other’s think, appearances, or “traditions”. “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5.15-16).
Jesus wants us to shine His Light to everyone. How is our light shining? Is it a dim flicker, a smouldering candle, or a blaze that is contagious to each person you meet? Let us rely on Jesus as our Light this week and expect great things for the Kingdom of God! Oh, may we radiate His light and glory to a world who desperately needs to see Him.