Jesus: The Light of the World
John 8:12–21

Good Morning, from the Voices of Hope Evangelistic Team, to all who are reading this message, I welcome each of you gathering today by way of the internet.  Once again, it’s a blessing to be able to share from God’s Word and I praise God as we are able to share His Word all over the world.

The title of my message is “Jesus: the Light of the World” and the scripture is found in John 8:12-21 which we’ll be reading as we go through the message, if you wish to turn there you can follow along.

We’ve preached many times already in John’s gospel on the reaction of men to Jesus. He makes a claim, He says He’s God, He claims to be Messiah and men react most of the time violently. Today Christ makes the same claims using a different metaphor and then we see the reaction again and how Christ meets that. This particular claim of Jesus is no different than His others, but He couches it in the phrase “I am the light of the world.” That’s the theme of these verses. 

There’s no question about the fact that we live in a dark world. I’m talking about a moral darkness. Man is by his own appetites and his own passions pushing himself further and further into that darkness because man’s passions and appetites tell him to seek the good life where the good life isn’t found. And the darkness seems even darker today, although it isn’t because dark is dark. People seem to be fleeing the darkness and they run right into a deeper darkness, from the darkness of sorrow and the darkness of sin and the darkness of hopelessness and the darkness of purposelessness and the darkness of loneliness and the darkness of separation and all of these things, they plunge into the darker darkness of sex, drugs, alcohol, spirit worship, devil worship and the ultimate darkness of suicide, the final escape, which is an escape into eternal darkness. 

We look at our world and we say our world is very dark and somebody comes along and says, “Yeah, do you know where there’s any light? Is there any light for the world?” And the answer is yes there’s light. “Well why don’t you tell people about it?” Well, we have for centuries; Jesus came and said “I am the light.” John 1:9 says, “Jesus Christ is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Men know about the light. If they don’t know about it by hearing some preacher or by reading it in the Bible, they know it because God has written it on their hearts. 

If they know the light do they come to the light? No, Jesus put it very simple, “Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.” People don’t come to the light because the light exposes them, it shows them the truth about what and who they are. 

The hardest thing for a man to do in the world is to face himself in reality. Men see a flicker of light and they dart back into the blackness lest the light expose their true person. Isn’t it funny that the people who hate darkness at the same time love it? Man hates his inability to understand and to see and to reason his existence. He hates his lost-ness, and his groping. He hates his moral lowliness. Yet instead of going to the light he plunges deeper and deeper into blackness. Men actually love the darkness they hate, it’s unbelievable. 

But there is light. Jesus said there is light. He said I am that light. We have proclaimed that light, it’s in the Word of God. God’s written it in the hearts of men, there’s light. Jesus is that light. And that’s the message of this passage. For those who are willing to come to Him, He’s there, but it’s going to demand that you be exposed. You see, before you can ever come to Jesus Christ to find the light, to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, the light’s going to turn on bright and show you what and who you are. That’s why repentance comes before salvation. 

First, we repent and then God redeems us supernaturally. You’ve got to be aware of what you are. That’s why Jesus said, “If any man thirst let him come and drink.” If you don’t thirst, you don’t come and drink. Jesus is the light. 

Jesus claims to be the light of the world. In view of that claim, they think they’ve got a way to attack Him and they try. They’ve tried to arrest Him, they’ve tried to trap Him in His words, both have failed, here’s another possibility they bring up as a result of His claim. 

What’s the scene, verse 20, “These words,” that is all the words from verse 12 on, “these words spoke Jesus in the treasury as He taught in the temple.” Jesus had previously confronted the scribes and Pharisees. They had kind of left, crept away and now He moves to the temple treasury. 

The temple treasury was an interesting place. In the temple there were a whole lot of different courts. The outer most was the Court of the Gentiles. The reason it was called the Court of the Gentiles was because it was the only place the Gentiles could go. The second court in was called the Court of the Women. That was because that’s all the further the women could go. It was in this Court of the Women that the temple treasury existed; where people brought their money. 

That’s where Jesus is. Keep that in mind, we’re going to see how that unfolds to be probably the critical thing in this whole passage. 

Verse 12, “Then spoke Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world, he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” 

When He said that He knew how they would react. Remember, they’re in the temple treasury, who goes to the temple treasury, the devout ones.  People who aren’t interested in God don’t hang around the temple treasury where everybody’s giving their money to God. These people knew the Old Testament. They were scholars, the Pharisees, the scribes, and when Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” no doubt, in my mind, He just blew their minds. Why? Because two times in the Old Testament, Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:6 God said I’m going to send a light who will be a light to the nations, those are two Messianic prophecies. 

Jesus was saying in effect, I am Israel’s Messiah. They would have known that. The rabbis even said the name of Messiah is light. They knew that God was going to send a light to the nations. Notice He was the light to the nations, not just to Israel. He says, in effect, I am that light. They knew that God was the essence of light and the Messiah would also be light. And so, when Jesus said I am the light, He is claiming to be Messiah. 

John made the same claim in the first chapter verse 5 he says, “And the light shines in darkness and the darkness overcame it not.” Verse 9, “That was the true light.” Christ came as that light that Messianic prophecy said God would send. 

“Why light?” To the darkness of falsehood, He is the light of truth. To the darkness of ignorance, He is the light of wisdom. To the darkness of impurity, He is the light of holiness. To the darkness of sorrow, He is the light of joy. To the darkness of death, He’s the light of life. He is called light because the world is dark. He is everything the world isn’t. And Jesus is saying nothing more and nothing less at this point than I am your Messiah. 

But I can take it one step further. He was not only claiming to be Messiah, He was claiming to be God. The psalmist said, “The Lord is my light.” And when Jesus said I am the light He was saying I’m God. Isn’t that what John said in 1 John 1:5, “This then is the message which we have heard of Him and declare unto you that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” And when Jesus came along and said “I am light,” He was claiming, number one, to be Messiah, number two, to be God. Same claim, just different metaphor. 

The feast of tabernacles had just concluded. It was seven days long. It was a yearly thing and it was to commemorate the wandering of Israel in the wilderness. 

At this feast there were several very important rituals. We already saw one; that was the pouring of the water where Jesus said, “If any man thirst, come to Me.” He grabbed that ritual and turned it to Himself. Then another ritual during this week was called the illumination of the temple ritual.

This ritual took place in the evening and the illumination of the temple ritual was to commemorate the light in the wilderness that had led Israel. Now we can see we’re beginning to zero in on this light concept and you’ll never believe where they had it … they had it in the Court of the Women. That’s why He went there to say, “I’m the light of the world.”   

In the middle of the Court of the Women they erected giant candelabras, gigantic massive things with a multiplicity of lights that reflected up. In the evening, they would light all those candelabras and that light would stream out of the top of that courtyard and flood the city of Jerusalem. At the same time, it was the noisiest celebration of the feast because everybody sang, they sang certain Psalms and they had certain dancing that they did and all this noise went on all night long while this light kept burning. That light was to commemorate the light in the wilderness. 

Jesus walks into the Court of the Women and the giant candelabras light is out because the feast ended the day before; Jesus steps into the middle of this courtyard and steps up beside those candelabras and undoubtedly with some gesture says, “I am the light of the world.” Jesus took that scene and made it so dynamic and so dramatic, He must have stunned them. You saw a light that lit Jerusalem, you celebrate a light that lit the wilderness, I am the light of the world. What a statement. 

Then He says an interesting thing, He says, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” 

Most lights don’t go anywhere but there was one light that moved, it wasn’t the light in the temple that commemorated it but it was the light in the wilderness. What did they do? They followed it. Jesus says you’re remembering that light that moved Israel around, follow Me, I’m that light that’s moving. When you follow Jesus Christ, you don’t sit around; you better be ready to go where that light takes you. And if you follow Him, you’ll never walk in darkness. 

What does it mean to follow Him? First of all, it’s the word used for a soldier who follows his captain. It’s a common word for battle. That’s what a Christian is, somebody who follows the captain. The captain says, “Men, we’re going over there.” The soldier doesn’t say, “No, I think I’ll go over there.” No. If the captain says you go over there, you go over there. So, the Christian follows the captain. 

It’s also the word that is used of a slave who attends and follows his master. It’s the idea of attending to his master’s needs. Jesus is our Master and a wonderful Master He is. And what does He want of us? But to follow Him, to do His will, to be at His beck and call and to do it with joy. We’re to serve Him. 

It’s also the word that is used for someone who follows wise counsel, to get advice and to do what the wise counselor told you. Christ is our counselor. Wonderful counselor, Isaiah said. And we are to follow His wise counseling. 

Follow also means to obey the standards that are set up. Isn’t that what we as Christians are to do, conform to the image of Jesus Christ, become what He is by His standards? 

Also, to follow is the idea of following a teacher’s argument. When a teacher is reasoning something out, we are to follow it and come to his conclusions. The Christian listens to Jesus Christ. In every way the word follow is used it fits us. 

Let me summarize by saying: A follower of Jesus Christ is one who gives his body and soul to Christ, totally, completely, with no loose ends. When we follow Jesus Christ half heartedly, we don’t really fulfill the obligation of a believer. Christ never said to follow Him half-heartedly. He said leave everything, come out from among them, touch not the unclean thing, be willing to leave father and mother and everything you have to follow Me. That’s the kind of following Jesus wants. And the person who comes to Jesus Christ comes on His terms.

We’ve heard folks say something like Jesus saved me so I’m going to heaven no matter how I live. Let me give you an absolute fact: If Christ is your Savior, He is your Lord. The question is not the Lordship of Christ, He is Lord. The question is obedience. If you received Him as Savior, He came as He is and He is Lord. The question is not the Lordship of Christ; the question is the obedience of the believer. He is Lord. He doesn’t come to you on your terms, He comes on His terms. The question is obedience. 

So, Christ makes these claims. I’m God, I’m the Messiah. And naturally the predictable result … Verse 13, “The Pharisees therefore said unto Him,” and I’m sure they said it with mockery and with kind of spite, they said, “Thou bearest witness of Thyself, Thy witness is not true.” You stand there, all alone, shooting out all these ridiculous claims and nobody to corroborate You, who do You think You are? You can’t just stand up there and say … I’m God … and have everybody believe You. 

In their ignorance they had rejected every miracle, every word He had said, every deed He had done which corroborated His deity to the inth degree. And they’re saying You can’t just testify for Yourself, it’s not right. They had a point. In Deuteronomy 19, Numbers 35, several places in the Old Testament, the Bible says, “In any accusation there must be two or three witnesses to corroborate it.” That’s an Old Testament principle. No man was to be put to death, no great accusation to be held against anybody without the testimony of two or three witnesses. And what the Jews are saying is Your testimony is invalid because You speak by Yourself and nobody else is giving any evidence to go along with it. They say, “We can’t take Your word alone, there’s got to be two witnesses.” It’s interesting, they had seen miracles and they couldn’t believe them? Unbelief never has enough evidence, never. There is no proof to convince unbelief. Jesus said in John 7:17, “If any man wills to do God’s will, then he shall know of the doctrine whether I speak of God or I’m speaking of Myself.” 

In other words, if you have a desire to do God’s will, God will reveal the truth to you. But if all you want to do is mock and criticize and find inconsistencies and shoot down Jesus Christ, you’ll never know the truth; I don’t care how much evidence there is. So, they stood there, didn’t get the message about light, all they could see was … get Him, get Him, get Him. I say that in love and yet I say it in truth. If you’re here and you’ve come to mock Jesus, in order to trap Jesus, in order to criticize Christianity, in order to find some kind of inconsistency or some kind of error in the person of Christ, then you’re going to leave in the same shape you came, except you’re probably going to be madder than when you got here. 

But on the other hand, if you’re willing to do God’s will, you can know the truth. So, the antagonists pick their point of attack and say … it can’t be true because You said it all by Yourself. 

Then we see the answer of Jesus. Verse 14a, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear witness of Myself, yet My witness is true.” Do you actually realize that I spoke the truth? He says, even though I speak for Myself it’s the truth. 

Then He gives them three reasons why His witness is true. Number one, verse 14, He says, “My witness is true for I know from where I came and where I go, but ye cannot tell from where I came or where I go.” He says, I give you true witness because I’ve been there, I know where I came from, I know where I’m going, I know Me. He’s actually saying to them that He knows what He’s talking about, which seems rather obvious to us. But then He qualifies the obviousness of it by saying at the end of verse 14, “And you don’t know.” You don’t even know where I came from. 

Back in chapter 7, you don’t even know the right situation about My physical birth, let alone My spiritual origins. 

And then, verse 15, Ye judge after the flesh, I judge no man.” Jesus says you’re one up on Me. I don’t even judge a man. You’re judging God. 

How could He say that when back in 5:22 it says, For the Father judgeth no man but hath committed all judgment unto the Son? Ah, those are two different statements regarding two different times. When Jesus was talking in chapter 5, He was talking about the resurrection. You remember He said some of you are going to marvel when the graves open and the dead come forth, some to the resurrection of damnation and some to the resurrection of life? He’s talking about the future; some day Jesus will judge. Today He comes to this world not as a judge but as a Savior. He says to them you’re the judges, not Me. If you’re going to judge Jesus, you better get the facts. 

So, the first reason, He says I have a right to My testimony because I know, you don’t. Second reason that My testimony is valid, verse 16, is because of My intimate union with the Father. He says, “And if I judge My judgment is true for I’m not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me. It’s almost an incomplete sentence. “But I and the Father that sent Me what? Period. So, Jesus says, “I and the Father that sent Me.” My testimony is true because God is true and I and God are one. 

The third proof, verse 17, “It is also written in your law, Deuteronomy, that the testimony of two men is true.” All right, I’ll go along with your rule. Now He gives the two witnesses, verse 18, “I am one that bear witness of Myself and the Father that sent Me beareth witness of Me.” Listen, if you’re looking for a couple of witnesses, I’ve got a couple of pretty respectable ones, Me and God. So, He answers their mocking questions. 

This doesn’t satisfy them. Verse 19, “Then said they unto Him, Where is Thy Father?”  Jesus answered “You neither know Me or My Father, if you had known Me you should have known My Father also.” He says, if My Father walked up to you, stood right in front of you and said “Hello, I’m God,” you wouldn’t know Him. What an answer. Super spiritual, super religious, spent all their life studying the Bible, the Old Testament, thought they knew God, Jesus says if God walked right up to you and said “I’m His Father” you wouldn’t know Him. That’s sad, religious people who don’t know God. 

Verse 20, the end of the verse, “No man laid hands on Him for His hour was not yet come.” They were so incensed they wanted to kill Him but they couldn’t touch Him. He was in a divine timetable and He only responded to God and those people couldn’t lay a hand on Him apart from God’s divine allowance. They couldn’t touch Him. 

Watch the response of Christ, verse 21, “Then said Jesus again unto to them, I go My way … it’s not your way … I go My way and ye shall seek Me and shall die in your sins, where I go ye cannot come.” Jesus says I’m going to go away and you’re going to soon fall on your face and you’re going to say, “Where are You, God?” and you’re not going to find Me; you’re going to die in your sins. 

I want to close with just a passage. Chapter 12:35-36, “Then Jesus said unto them Yet a little while is the light with you, walk while you have the light lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not where he goeth while you have light, believe in the light that you may be the children of light.” 

Darkness is coming on this world and God’s going to judge this world. I don’t know how long the light is going to be on, but I say to you what Jesus said … while you have the light, come to the light, believe in the light and become children of light. If you are already a believer, you are a child of light. You know what Paul said in Ephesians 5:18 he said, “Now are ye light walk as children of light.” If you are a child of light, act like it, please act like it. 

Father, we thank You this morning for Your truth, Your Word, for what we’ve learned. I thank You for Jesus Christ the light of the world. May He become more real, more precious to us each moment. We pray that the light of Christ might shed upon some heart today, and we who are already children of light may we walk as children of light. May we live the life. May we be what we are. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.


When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "The Light of the World is Jesus."