On Sunday, October 23, 2011 our sermon at SCC was on Jesus’s statement, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” in John 8:12. Throughout the Bible, there are multiple instances where “light” is spoken of metaphorically. It can represent knowledge, wisdom, the power of God, holiness, God’s presence or nearness, life, truth, salvation, and even an attribute of God. There are certainly messianic overtones to it as well, and when Jesus refers to himself as the Light of the World, he is summing up all of these potential meanings in himself. The Pharisees argue with him about this claim showing that they understood, at least in part, what he intended by saying it. Jesus teaches that he is the light that shines in spiritual darkness. Those who desire to see will trust in him. Believing in the one God sent, is what makes one right before God, and gives on a true understanding of who God is and what he is like. Not believing, leaves one in darkness, not truly knowing who God is or what he is like.
These ideas can be found throughout the Gospel of John where “Light” is a major theme:
John 1:4-5, 9-11
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has
come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
John 12:35-36, 46
35So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36While you
have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”…46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.