One of the greatest legal
battles was once fought over a terrible automobile
accident that involved a train at Blue Mountain. The
accident happened on a dark rainy night as a fast
moving car came down the mountain road, around a
sharp curve, and ran head long into the train.
Several people were killed in the accident.
In the fiery contested
court battle the railroad flagman told precisely how
he got off the train before it reached the railroad
crossing and stood in the highway swinging his
lantern back and forth to signal any approaching
vehicle. This was his customary behavior whenever
the train approached this notoriously bad
intersection. On this particular night he had done
precisely as he had been instructed, and as he had
on many previous occasions.
cross-examination he consistently answered each
question as to his procedures that particular night.
Yes, he got off the train ahead of the crossing.
Yes, he stood in the highway. Yes, he swung his
lantern back and forth in a cross manner. He even
jumped out of the way of the speeding automobile
before it hit the train. The jury deliberated, and
the railroad won because of the testimony of this
About a year later the
flagman who had now retired from the railroad was
fishing on one of the beautiful lakes. The attorney
who had represented the families saw him and asked
how the fishing was. The attorney said, "You were a
witness at a railroad accident last year. You know,
that was the best-fought trial I have ever had. I
should have won that case. You were the best witness
I have ever cross-examined. You were great. I lost
that case because of your splendid performance. You
were a determined and a perfect witness."
The humble flagman
squirmed a little and said, "Oh, man was I scared
that day. I have never ever been so frightened in
all my life."
The lawyer replied, "No
one would have ever known it. You were great the way
you handled me."
"Oh, I was scared," the
man said. "I was so scared you were going to ask
"What question?" inquired
"You know," the man
replied. "I was scared you were going to ask, 'Did
you have your lantern lit that night?'"
How many people go
through this spiritually dark world without their
lantern lit? Do have yours lit? Do you have the
light of the Lord Jesus Christ dwelling within you?
Is your lantern lit? Is it brightly trimmed?
FEAST OF THE
Exodus 13:21-22 is the
first reference in the Old Testament to the identity
of the LORD God with the cloud of glory that led and
protected Israel during her wandering in the
wilderness for forty years. It was huge and striking
in size and symbolized Jehovah's presence with His
people. This great cloud of glory gave off light by
night and illuminated the way for His people. By day
the cloud led the nation and gave direction. From
the cloud God spoke. The presence of God
overshadowed them, and went with them in their
wandering through the wilderness. The pillar of
cloud and of fire was evidence of Yahweh's presence
with His people.
This is the same cloud of
glory that filled the Holy of Holies in the
Tabernacle and later in the temple in Jerusalem when
came down and met with His people. The pillar
dispelled the darkness of the night and any would be
attackers. However, in time the glory departed from
Israel. Much of the religious ceremonies that
continued was only ritual. Religion was formal and
Pouring of water
In Jesus' day the people
commemorated the wilderness wandering at the Feast
of the Tabernacles. Each morning during the
eight-day feast the priests in procession went to
the pool of Siloam and drew water in golden
pictures. Upon returning to the temple they poured
the water on the altar of sacrifice, and the people
accompanying the priests sang and chanted the Hallel
consisting of Psalms 113-118. "With joy you will
draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isaiah
12:3). It was a reminder of what God had done in the
wilderness by providing water. Psalm 114:7-8 reads,
"Tremble, O earth, before
Before the God of Jacob,
Who turned the rock into
a pool of water,
The flint into a fountain
It was a marvelous
picture of the spiritual water that the people would
receive in the days of the Messiah. One day as the
water was being poured, and the people finished
singing, Jesus cried out for all to hear in the
temple precinct these words in John 7:37-38, "Now on
the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus
stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty,
let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me,
as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being
will flow rivers of living water.'"
The great light
At the same great
eight-day ceremony after sunset, two great oil fed
lamps were lighted in the court of the temple.
Maimonides said the lighting of the great menorah
took place every evening during the feast when young
priests climbed ladders and lighted the wicks, and
the people staged a great torch dance. Others think
it was observed only during the first evening of the
The giant lamp in the
temple suddenly cast its light over the city of
Jerusalem and the darkness was penetrated. It was a
reminder each year that during the wilderness
wandering the pillar of cloud by day and the fire by
night accompanied the people when they left Egypt
until they crossed over Jordan into the Promised
The prophet Isaiah
wrote in 9:2,
"The people who walk in
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark
The light will shine on
Just as Jesus is the new
manna sent down from heaven, the water from the
rock, He is also the cloud, the light of God's holy
presence among His people. "I am the light of the
world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in
darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John
Jesus stood in the
courtyard of the temple at the Feast of the
Tabernacles and shouted, "I am the light of the
world." What that column of fire was for Israel in
the Old Testament Jesus is for the whole world. The
LORD God was with His chosen people. Jesus is God
The cloud of glory
symbolized God's presence with the people, which had
long departed from Israel. Now, in Jesus' day, the
Holy of Holies was empty and Jesus stood and
shouted, "I am the light of the world. I am God with
you. I am God with His people." Jesus Christ is God
with you. He is the glory and presence of God among
JESUS IS THE I AM
Jesus said, "I am the
light of the world," and we are reminded, "God is
light." It is His nature to be pure and holy. It is
what He is in Himself in His eternal attributes.
Therefore, when Jesus said, "I am the light of the
world" He was declaring to the world His absolute
deity. Again it was Jehovah, the I AM announcing
that He alone is God. "I am" is emphatic in verse
twelve. It is the style of deity (cf. 6:35; 8:58).
The Word who had been with God in the beginning was
now incarnate on earth.
Jesus once again uses the
emphatic ego eimi, meaning I and I alone, I
and no other. "I am the light of the world." Jesus
was using language that only God could use. It would
be blasphemy for anyone else to use such language.
When the Pharisees jumped
on Jesus after He made this dogmatic "I am"
statement Jesus gave a strong testimony, "You will
die in your sins, for unless you come to believe
that I am (what I say) you shall die in your sins"
(v. 24). Again Jesus connects Himself with the "I AM
THAT I AM" of Exodus 3:14. Unless you believe on Him
you will die in your sins.
The "I am" formula
In verse twenty-eight
Jesus again uses the "I AM" formula as He speaks of
His coming death. So Jesus said, "When you lift up
the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and
I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these
things as the Father taught Me" (8:28). The "I am"
is in the same sense as in verse twenty-four. I (and
I alone) am what I tell you, namely I am from above;
I am not of this world (v. 23).
Verses 24, 28 and 58 lead
to a grand climax. The present tense, "I am"
predicates absolute existence for the person of
Jesus Christ. "Before Abraham came into being
(before he was born, before he came into existence),
I AM" (v. 58). Jesus existence as a person is
constant and independent of any beginning in time.
He is eternal through the ages.
"I am" = I exist. "Jesus
testifies to the divine, eternal pre-existence of
His person." He, and He alone is the Light of the
world. He reveals Himself as no other possibly can.
He is the I AM, and it is His light that shines and
penetrates the darkness of this world.
In John chapter nine,
Jesus in a miraculous deed clearly demonstrated that
He is "the Light of the world, who bestows the light
of life." Those who reject Him remain in their sins.
"While I am in the world, I am the light of the
world" (9:5). The blind man testifies, "whereas I
was blind, now I see" (v. 25). His conviction and
faith rise to a climax as he sees the true light of
Jesus when he declares, "Lord, I believe." And he
worshipped Jesus (v. 38). Jesus is the I AM. He is
worthy of our worship. Jesus used the name of the
burning bush, and linked it with the symbol of
perfect revelation of the great I AM.
Abraham was overjoyed in
his lifetime to see the day of Christ and saw it and
rejoiced. The whole redemptive work of Christ is
probably in mind. Abraham looked forward to the day
of the Messiah and rejoiced in it.
The climatic point of
John chapter eight is this superb declaration of
Jesus "before Abraham was born, I am" (v. 58). John
begins His Gospel by proclaiming the pre-existence
of the Word. Jesus eternally existed with the Father
in heaven. His "verily, verily" (for certain, for
certain) marks this out as an important and emphatic
statement. Before Abraham "came into existence, I
am." Abraham had a definite beginning in time
as contrasted with the eternal "I am." Jesus did not
say, "I was." He said emphatically, "I am." It
speaks of His eternity of being. With these words,
"I AM" Jesus makes his boldest declaration about
The declaration "I am"
must have its fullest meaning and significance. It
is the emphatic style of deity. No one would ever
speak of a human being in this manner. The Old
Testament translators of the Hebrew into Greek
rendered Exodus 3:14, "I AM THAT I AM" in the form
we have here, "I am" (ego eimi).
Jesus Christ, the Light
of the world is one with the Father in the unity of
the Godhead. It is the supreme claim to deity with
the great formula of the great "I AM." He is the
LORD God incarnate.
The apostle John wrote,
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and
we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from
the Father, full of grace and truth" (1:14). The
Light of the world is our complete, full and perfect
revelation from God. Just as light needs no
authentication, the Light of the world validates
Himself. Nobody needs to label or describe light; it
speaks for itself. The reality of Christ makes its
impact on human life and verifies His claims by the
transformation that it affects. The risen Christ is
His own best witness.
Have you seen His
Have you found the LORD
God in Jesus Christ?
The cloud led the people
in the wilderness until they crosses over the Jordan
River into the Promised Land in Canaan. In the
person of Jesus Christ we have the full and complete
revelation of God to man. He is all the light we
need to bring us into God's holy presence. The only
one who can ever reveal the perfect likeness of God
is His own Son. He leads us to the Father.
The presence of the cloud
was an ever-present witness that God was with them.
He was always near. He is the protector for everyone
who comes to Him. He has His hands around and under
Jesus is the light in the
Gospel of John (1:4-9, 12; 3:19; 9:5; 12:46). Jesus
is the divine light—the holiness of God. "Light" is
the emblem of holiness and righteousness. Christ is
the wisdom, righteousness and sanctification and
redemption from God.
In the opening section of
John chapter eight we see the Light of the world
indicating the righteousness of God before the
Pharisees who drug a woman in before Him. How
powerful that holy light shone when He said, "He
that is without sin among you, let him first cast a
stone at her." Her accusers were cut to the core
with convicting power of God. The holiness of Jesus
Christ as the Light of the world smote their
sin-darkened hearts. The power of the light cut to
the core and they departed one by one. "Go and sin
no more," were the words of a righteous God. He did
not say go in peace and sin some more.
Jesus is the unique light
of the world in the midst of depraved and corrupt
mankind. He came and lived the one perfect life
which still convicts sinful man. Isaiah 42:6 reads,
"I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you,
and I will appoint you as a covenant to the people,
as a light to the nations." In 49:6 the prophet
quotes the Lord, "It is too small a thing that You
should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will
also make You a light of the nations so that My
salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
Indeed, Jesus is the "sun of righteousness" (Malachi
CHRIST IS THE LIGHT TO
A MORALLY AND SPIRITUALLY DARK WORLD
Jesus shines brightly in
a spiritually dark world. The light conquers the
opposing power called "darkness." Light triumphs
over darkness. John opens his gospel with the deity
of Jesus Christ and therefore the light of His
essential character and attributes (1:4-12). The
apostle tells us the Logos is "the light." Jesus
said, "the light is come into the world," and those
who believe on Christ come to the light and those
who will not believe shun it (3:18-21).
The contrast is
straightforward: divine truth; clear as "light," as
opposed to ignorance, unbelief and depravity. It is
righteousness of Christ as opposed to depraved
unrighteousness of the sinner.
The Light is our
The LORD guided the
people of Israel in the wilderness by the cloud and
the pillar of fire. When the cloud moved the people
moved. When it stayed still, they camped (Numbers
Jesus is the one who
gives the believer guidance. When we are in
fellowship with Him He leads us and we move when He
moves. When He abides we abide with Him.
"Whoever follows Me will
never walk in darkness, but will have the light of
To follow the light
is to believe
In John 12:46 Jesus said,
"I have come as Light into the world, so that
everyone who believes in Me will not remain in
darkness." Following Christ is possible only as we
believe on Him. Are you following the Light? Jesus
is the Light, the only Light into the presence of
God. You will no longer be walking in spiritual
darkness if you will follow Him. The one who does
not "follow" or believe in Christ still remains in
The Light is our
God in the wilderness
protected Israel with the cloud covering. The
wilderness of Sinai is one of the most inhospitable
places on the earth where the daytime temperatures
reach 150 degrees, and then it falls to below
freezing at night. God provided shelter from the
heat by day with the cloud, and warmth at night with
the pillar of fire. When the evening came upon them
the cloud protected Israel. The people would have
died without God's presence. He provided light by
night and shade by day.
The Lord Jesus Christ
protects us in the palm of his hands. He is our
Shepherd, provider and keeper.
The unbelieving world is
walking in spiritual darkness. That is the spiritual
state of the unbeliever. Jesus said, "He that
follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall
have the light of life."
The world is in spiritual
darkness, and Jesus Christ is our only hope. He
alone is the "light of life" in a world of spiritual
The great claim of Jesus
provoked the unbelieving Pharisees to rage. Chapters
eight and nine tell of this vigorous opposition to
WALKING IN THE LIGHT
What is it like to
walk in the light?
We "follow" the light of
the Lord Jesus Christ when we commit ourselves to
Him as our only Lord and Savior. To "follow" Jesus
is to believe and trust Him. Like the children of
Israel who followed the light in the wilderness, we
must follow Jesus Christ. For the believer it is a
"permanent spiritual attachment." Everyone who
"follows" Him "shall not walk in darkness." He will
no longer be lost in the deadly darkness and perish
in the world's wilderness desert of depravity.
We are drawn to the
light; it is not drawn to us. The Light causes us to
Jesus is the light; He
gives life. He is the Light that disperses life to
the person who lives in Him, and partakers of His
life become light, walking as light in the dark
world. The life He gives is eternal.
The believer of Jesus
Christ is the reflected light of the Lord Jesus. He
is the light of the world and He said His followers
are to be "light in the world" (cf. Eph. 5:8; John
12:35-36). The "light of life" is the spiritual,
divine light that is possessed only by the
"follower" or believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus
emphasized: "I am the Light of the world; he who
follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will
have the Light of life."
In the Sermon on the
Mount Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A
city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone
light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the
lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the
house. Let your light shine before men in such a way
that they may see your good works, and glorify your
Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).
For the Christian the
light of Christ actually penetrates him and shall
become his personal possession. Our light is His
light, a reflection of His light working in and
The figure breaks down as
all do when communicating spiritual reality.
This "light of life" is
the spiritual life, abiding union with God who is
the essence of life.
Darkness and death go
together; moreover light and eternal resurrected
life also go together.
"God is light and in Him
there is no darkness at all." He sent His Son who is
"the light of the world" to give light and eternal
life to each person who believes on Him. Each
believer is a light shining out in a world of sin,
depravity and spiritual darkness.
PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
When you "see the light"
of who the "Light of the world" is you can only fall
at His feet and worship Him as the great I AM THAT I
Jehovah with us! The LORD
God with us! Hallelujah! The LORD God reigns. The
apostle Paul reminds us that every man, woman, child
will bow and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. "Being
found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by
becoming obedient to the point of death, even death
on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted
Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above
every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee
will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth
and under the earth, and that every tongue will
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father" (Philippians 2:8-11).
This is why it is
imperative that we preach Jesus Christ as Lord. "If
you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and
believe in your heart that God raised Him from the
dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person
believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the
mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the
Scripture says, 'Whoever believes in Him will not be
disappointed.' For there is no distinction between
Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all,
abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for
'Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be
saved'" (Romans 10:9-13).
Jesus said, "You call Me
Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am"
(John 13:13). He is the same from everlasting to
everlasting. The only conclusion you can come to is
where Jesus is there is God. There God lives,
speaks, calls, asks, acts, decides, loves, chooses,
forgives, judges, rejects, hardens, suffers, dies.
Nothing bolder can be said, or imagined. Jesus is
God. He is the great "I AM THAT I AM."
When you encounter the
Light of the world you experience the deep
penetrating power of His light that reveals sin.
It is not strange that
when the Light convicted the Pharisees they picked
up stones to kill Him. He always penetrates our
wicked hearts and reveals our depravity. When He
reveals our true selves we cry out,
"Woe is me, for I am
Because I am a man of
And I live among a people
of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the
King, the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5).
Jesus said the Holy
Spirit, would continue to do just what He does.
And He, when He comes,
will convict the world concerning sin, and
righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because
they do not believe in Me; and concerning
righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no
longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the
ruler of this world has been judged (John 16:8-11).
One of the finest
examples of this great truth applied to the human
heart is the testimony of the apostle Paul in Acts
9:1-6. He saw the Light and it cut him to the core
and he cried out to God. "As he was traveling, it
happened that he was approaching Damascus, and
suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and
he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to
him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' And
he said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am
Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter
the city, and it will be told you what you must do'"
The arrogant Pharisees
stumbled in their spiritual darkness. In effect they
said, "I don't see it that way. You are just talking
When we have experienced
the holy presence of the Light of the world living
within us we are a changed people.
When the Jesus Christ
comes into our lives the moment we believe on Him He
changes our lives, and we respond to Him as our
Lord. Our response is, "Lord, what would you have me
do?" It is our responsibility to share the Light.
The prophet Isaiah said, "Then I heard the voice of
the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will
go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"
When we walk in the Light
we live a victorious Christian life.
It is impossible to live
the Christian life without walking in His light
every day. Jesus promises the believer the "light of
life." The light which radiates from our lives is a
life in communion with God. Are you walking in that
light every day? The apostle Paul encourages the
believer to walk in the light:
Therefore do not be
partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness,
but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children
of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all
goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to
learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not
participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but
instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even
to speak of the things which are done by them in
secret. But all things become visible when they are
exposed by the light, for everything that becomes
visible is light (Ephesians 5:17-13).
"If we say that we have
fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we
lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in
the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have
fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus
His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we
have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the
truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that
we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word
is not in us" (1 John 1:6-10).
When we appropriate Jesus
as the Light of the world He gives us life.
He is the Light of life
that disperses eternal life to all who believe on
Him. The person who lives in him, and partakes of
His life becomes light, walking as light, in a dark
Have you seen the Light?
Jesus Christ is the only source of eternal life. He
alone imparts spiritual life. Do you want to be
freed from spiritual darkness?
Title: John 8:12
I am the Light of the World
Series: The I AM
sayings of Jesus