Shining a light: John 8

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Today’s reading: John 7-8.

 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

In the second of his seven “I am” statements, Jesus declared himself the revealer of truth, the light in the darkness, the guiding principle, and he contrasted himself with the darkness around him by his words and actions.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

In my teenage years my brother and I went backpacking and had to hike 17 miles in one day to reach our shelter. The day stretched into the evening and still our camp was miles away. We walked the last few miles and hours by the power of our flashlights, without which we might have been forced to sleep on the trail. In a dark world, light is essential for safe travel. Jesus lights up all the dark corners of our lives and shows us the safe way to heaven.

Lighting up the darkness of hypocrisy. They brought the adulterous woman to Jesus, not because they cared about justice or the law, but because they wanted to use her to strike at Jesus. He turned his light on their sinfulness, and their condemnation disappeared, leaving only God’s grace.

Lighting up the darkness of sin. The Israelites thought they were free, but in reality they were slaves of sin. Jesus pointed out their sinful motives and actions so that they might have an opportunity to repent and be set free.

Lighting up the darkness of the devil. Modern men may doubt the existence of the father of evil, but Jesus did not. He knew that Satan was the agent of darkness and the source of lies. Pointing out the truth of Satan’s work was the first step in disarming him.

Lighting up the darkness of death. Many Jews in Jesus’ day did not believe in life after death. Jesus promised that everyone who obeyed his words would find eternal life, just as he had experienced it from the beginning of time.

Jesus is the word of God, and God’s word is the light that illuminates our path.

Jesus is the light of the world because he comes from the Father and speaks for the Father and is going to the Father and is one with the Father. So these words of interaction with the Jews look like a detour from “I am the light of the world,” but in fact they are constantly pointing to the way he is the light of the world—by coming from the Father and going to the Father and being one with the Father. – John Piper

Image by Praful Schroff on Flickr, CC by 2.0

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