Daily Word

Light of the World | John 8:12

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

John 8:12  (ESV)

Note: The most ancient Greek manuscripts do not include John 7:53–8:11 so we’re going to skip this section. It is entirely possible John wrote it and it happened.

Light significance

Though the Feast of Tabernacles had already concluded by this point, Jesus still refers back to it. “Light was an important symbol in the Feast of Tabernacles. During the feast, many emblems and ceremonies remembered the pillar of fire that gave light to Israel during the Exodus. Now, Jesus took this important symbol and simply applied it to Himself” (enduringword.com)

I am

The “I am” here is a strong statement that He is claiming to be God. He is harkening back to Exodus 3:14 where Moses is talking with God and wants to know what to say to the Jewish leaders when they ask him who sent him. “God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” It is like other “I am” statements Jesus made, like earlier in John 6:35, 48 wher he says, “I am the bread of life”. He’ll use it a number of times later in this chapter: John 8:24, 28 and especially 58.

Light of the World

Jesus has already referred to himself as Living water when talking to the woman at the well in John 4:10-11 and, as the Bread of Life in John 6:35 where he identifies himself as the source of life. Now he says he is the Light of the World.

The OT talked about the word being Light. For example, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) and “Send out Your light and Your truth, they shall lead me;” (Psalm 43:3).

Walk in the light

Jesus promises that those who follow him, who believe in him, will walk in light since he is the light of the world. They will be able to see where they’re going. Of course he’s talking spiritually again. John later addresses this in 1 John 1:7 where he gives us this wonderful promise: “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.” 

Later in this chapter Jesus brings up this topic with the Jewish leaders when he proves his authority to make these claims.

<- Reflection ->
  • Do you find yourself walking in the darkness – not knowing where you are going spiritually? Do you lack purpose in life? Are you wrestling with the guilt of sin? Contact us.
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