The Light of Life

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)

For the moral and spiritual darkness which covers the earth, for the darkness plaguing humankind, Jesus declares He is the only remedy–He is the True Light that breaks the darkest and strongest chains of sin and depravity. Just as one sun is the sufficient visible light for the whole world, so too there is One Christ–the sufficient Savior–and there need be no more. Isaiah prophesizes regarding our Messiah:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

“If a man could continually ‘follow’ the sun, he would always be in broad daylight in every part of the globe. So it is with Christ and believers. Always following Him, they will always have light.” -Brentius

In our verse for today, Jesus says that He came not only for a few, but for the benefit of all. And yet sadly, some choose not to use or value His Light, preferring to wallow in the darkness. Jesus had made this same point earlier in the book of John:

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:19-21)

Man’s love of darkness stems from an innate love of what is all around us over a love for God–worshipping and serving created things rather than the Creator. The darkness disguises our misplaced love, but nothing is hidden from God’s sight. We read in God’s Word:

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator. (Romans 1:25)

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)

The word translated “follow” is from the Greek word akoloutheo meaning: “attendant on a way, road, path. The individual calling to follow Jesus involved abiding fellowship … cleaving to Him in believing trust and obedience …. following His leading and acting according to His example … hence the constant stress of the Lord Jesus on self-denial and fellowship with Himself in the cross … following Jesus therefore denotes a fellowship of faith as well as a fellowship of life, sharing in His sufferings not only inwardly, but outwardly if necessary.” -Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible New Testament Lexical Aids

It is not enough to simply marvel at the light of Jesus from a distance–the promise is for those who are willing to follow. Just as we are not swimming when we simply gaze at a pool, nor are not actually eating chocolate when we simply look at it, we are not experiencing God’s light when we are looking at Jesus. We are swimming when we jump in, the wonderful taste of chocolate comes to us when we place it in our mouths. Jesus requires of us our commitment and submission to His leading; following is the act of believing. As we follow Christ, His promise is that we will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life. We will neither be left in ignorance nor grope around in uncertainty–our conscience and our understanding will be flooded with light that can never be totally quenched.

David proclaims his confidence in the Lord as being his light–and it is this confidence that takes away his fear:

The LORD is my light and my salvationwhom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my lifeof whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

Jesus’ provisions for His followers are salvation and strength, joy and understanding, life and strength.

“Into the soul at the new birth divine light is poured as the precursor of salvation; where there is not enough light to reveal our own darkness and to make us long for the Lord Jesus, there is no evidence of salvation. After conversion our God is our joy, comfort, guide, teacher, and in every sense our light:  He is our light within, light around, light reflected from us, and light to be revealed to us …He, then, who by faith has laid hold upon God, has all covenant blessings in his possession.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Take It to Heart

“With every revelation there is obligation. With every blessing there is responsibility. It is not enough for us to receive the gift of salvation or to be blessed of God. We must commit our way to the Lord and heed His Word.” (Dr. Michael Youssef)