The “I AM” Claims of Jesus, 5, Title: The Most Challenging Claim, Text: John 8:12

Series: The “I AM” Claims  of Jesus, 5, Title: The Most Challenging Claim, Text: John 8:12


Our text is John 8:12 in which Jesus declares He is the Light of the world. 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.” This claim is challenging because of the multitude of implications it carries and because it is a real challenge for us to reveal this light in our living. We shall look at four aspects of this statement and they are Light is good, it is a guide, it is God, and it is great.


I think that none of us walking into a dark area doesn’t want light. Humans have used all sorts of energy sources to obtain light such as wood, oil, tallow, batteries, and all the sources that drive our electrical generating systems so that we can now just throw a switch. The light spoken of by Jesus is spiritual light, and physical light is only illustrative of this spiritual light. In Genesis 1:1-5 we read, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. Let me begin by clarifying a common error. The Bible does say, also, that God is light. Some have thereby concluded that the physical light around us and in the universe is God. This is utterly false. God is not part of creation, He is above creation. The light we experience with our physical eyes is something God made, as stated in Genesis 1. The light is the first act of creation and anticipates all the others. In the end God creates us with vision so that we can see all the wonders of His creation and observe His almighty power and beauty and glorify Him. David remarks on this in Psalm 19:1, The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Thus when Jesus says He is the Light of the world He is proclaiming that he can light up your life. He can illumine your mind and understanding and guide you in the way so that you know where you are going. Jesus plainly says in John 8:12 that if we follow His light we will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. Light is good as God declares in Genesis 1, and this brings me to the next point.


When Jesus says He is the Light of the world, He is proclaiming that he can light up your life. He can illumine your mind and understanding and guide you in the way so that you know where you are going. Jesus plainly says in John 8:12 that if we follow His light we will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. Light is good as God declares in Genesis 1, but it is also a guide. What guided the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings for forty years? Wasn’t it a fiery pillar visible through the night? In fact it was common for people to be led throughout the darkness by flaming torches. God has promised in Isaiah 42:16 that He will lead His people through the darkness. And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. It is manifestly true that you and I will not be led by a physical light from God unless it is a miracle. However we have His Word to guide us as David tells us in Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I don’t know about you, but I hate stubbing my toe or knee or worse in the darkness, and on the occasion I have had to experience that because no light was available, I have thought about the handicap of physical blindness. Our greatest disability is that we are all born thus handicapped and if we are not born anew with spiritual eyes we cannot see in the darkness in which we walk. It is no accident that Jesus says to Nicodemus in John 3, that unless a man is born again he cannot “see” the kingdom of God. Sin blinds us and salvation restores that sight. "I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Listen to John Calvin’s exhortation.  “For when we learn that all who allow themselves to be governed by Christ are out of danger of going astray, we ought to be excited to follow him, and, indeed, by stretching out his hand — as it were — he draws us to him. We ought also to be powerfully affected by so large and magnificent a promise, that they who shall direct their eyes to Christ are certain that, even in the midst of darkness, they will be preserved from going astray; and that not only for a short period, but until they have finished their course. For that is the meaning of the words used in the future tense, he shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” This is why David wrote in Psalm 27:1, 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?


In this chapter Christ asserts that He is the “I Am,” which is the assertion that He is Jahweh. How can we forget that he says to Phillip in John 14:9, Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? And in this very chapter in verse 19 Jesus also says, “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” I tell you this so you can better understand the statement in I John 1:9, This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. The Scripture does not say light is God! This is not a metaphysical statement, that is, it does not mean God consists of light or that He is made of light, but rather it refers to His moral and spiritual purity.  In 1 John 1, John is talking about fellowship with God. How can we have it? The answer is, if you read the chapter, by confessing our sins. Why? Because God is of purer eyes than to look upon iniquity as the Bible says in Habakkuk 1:13. A good definition of God is, "God is the only infinite, eternal, and unchangeable spirit, the perfect being in whom all things begin, and continue, and end." Another way of saying that God is perfect is to say that God is light. Adam Clarke writes, “Light is the purest, the most subtle, the most useful, and the most diffusive of all God's creatures (creations); it is, therefore, a very proper emblem of the purity, perfection, and goodness of the Divine nature.” And Ian Maclaren comments, "There are spots in the sun, great tracts of blackness on its radiant disc; but in God is un-mingled, perfect purity.”


Jesus told his disciples that they were the light, Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Jesus calls it “your light” but clearly it is His Light shining through you into the whole world.  It has become your light by His grace. In this way Jesus’ light is multiplied. It is like the L.E.D bulbs that have come on the market. These are small light-emitting diodes many of which can replace a single old fashioned bulb. Thus, they are considerably brighter. Long ago, the Lord predicted in Isaiah 58:8 that if His people would truly repent and do His will, Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. In Exodus there is an historical account of this happening. We read in Exodus 14:15-20, Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. Israel could see and the Egyptians could not. They were blinded. The opening pages of Scripture begin with the theme of separation, a theme that is carried throughout the revealed Word of God until the record of God’s final judgment of mankind. In Genesis, we read that God separated the light from the darkness by the power of His word. We read in Exodus 14 that the Angel of the Lord moved from guiding the Israelites through the wilderness to guarding them from behind against the advances of the Egyptian army. We should not be surprised that this glory, which is manifest in nature and in God’s revealed Word, is hidden from the unbeliever. The lost do not see with the eye of faith; therefore, they perceive only darkness. Even as the glory of the Lord stands manifest before them, they see only darkness. However, this does not mean we should put our lamp under a bowl. When the light shines the most unlikely people end up following it. Like John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace and a slave trader who ended up working to abolish slavery in the British Empire and Ronald Reagan a Hollywood actor who became a stalwart Christian defending the unborn, and the Apostle Paul who persecuted the Lord and His Church and ended up the world’s foremost missionary, and perhaps even you. So spread the light as Jesus commanded because the Light is great and the good news is contagious.