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).
From the text, we see a contrast between light and darkness. Also, we can further imply a contrast between sin and righteousness; life and death. “I am the light of the world” is one of a number of “I am” statements by Jesus Christ recorded in John’s gospel. These “I am” statements are not a simple use of first person pronouns; rather, they point us to Christ’s divine identity and his saving relationship with sinners in a fallen world.
Below is list of some of Jesus’ “I am” statements:
I am the bread of life (John 6:35; 48, 51)
I am the door of the sheep (John 10:7; 7)
I am the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14)
I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)
I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)
I am the true vine ( John 15:1).
All these “I am” were spoken in various contexts where they addressed specific needs ultimately pointing to our need of a Saviour. In the text before us, Jesus again makes an “I am” statement in the context of sin where a woman caught in adultery was brought to him suppossedly for his judgement:
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us e to stone such women. So what do you say? (vv.3-5).
It is interesting that only the woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus. This highlights the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. And rightly, John records that the motive for their action wasn’t to uphold the law but rather to find fault with Jesus: “This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.”(v.6).
Light of The World
Now going back to our opening text, if Jesus says he is the light of the world, it presupposes that;
1. The World Is In Darkness.
Darkness here metaphorically depicts a world of sin and ignorance; lack of knowledge of God. Darkness contrasting with light is the realm of evil; the kingdom of darkness. The whole world, Jesus said lies in wickedness (1John 5:19). In the beginning, God created a perfect world and he saw that all he made was good (Genesis 1:31). However, this perfect world was plunged into sin when Adam disobeyed God’s command subsequently inflicting the world with sin causing a separation between God and man (Romans 3:23). This darkness is a universal darkness. Every human being is affected by the effects of this dark sinful world.
2. Life Without Christ Is A Life of Darkness
When Jesus said “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness”, the negative rendering of that statement will be “Whoever doesn’t follow me will walk in darkness.” Now, if the world is in darkness, it follows that everyone who enters it enters a world of darkness–filled with sin and ignorance of a knowledge of God. We all enter the world corrupted by a sin nature. Burk Parson in a sermon noted that “we enter the world dead on arrival.”
There is a kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan and that kingdom of darkness is this world. Any person who enters it is automatically under the bondage of Satan and until they come to faith in Christ, they are doomed for destruction and under Satan’s rule. Paul says this clearly when he described the former world of the believer which is the present world or reality of the unbeliever in Ephesians 2. They are dead in trespasses and sins. They are following the course of the order of the dark world which is sin and are under Satan’s rule. If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, this is your world. You are dead in sin and living in darkness. I argue that every unbeliever is demon possessed and my basis is Eph. 2:1-3.
Now the woman caught in adultery was in darkness. Those who brought her were in darkness. Notice how Jesus addressed them: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her .” (v.7b). That statement exposed their true nature and upon hearing it they all dispersed convicted of their sins, yet they walked away and won’t submit to Christ.
3. Life With Christ Is A Life of Light
The only thing that can clear darkness is light. If the whole world is in darkness and it is, Christ presents himself as the antidote or solution to that darkness. “I am the light of the world” Christ says. This statement takes us back to the prologue of John when John says: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”(John 1:4-5). Christ has life in himself and this life is life that dispels darkness. What Jesus offers here is most importantly forgiveness of sins that ravages every human being. Because of sin we are separated from God and under his judgement until we turn to Christ for liberation. When they brought the woman caught in adultery to Christ, he applied a universal truth to her accussers: none of them were without sin. And beautifully, Christ grants liberation to the woman:
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord .” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more. (John 8:10).
Who Ever Follows Me
Jesus says “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness.” This is a promise of liberation. The question will be what does it mean to follow Jesus? It simply means putting our trust and faith in him, turning away from our sins and looking to Christ and his finished work on Calvary for our salvation and freedom from a world of darkness. Whatever sins you find yourself in, Christ offers forgiveness and pardon. He is the light of the world. He will shine light and life into your dark, sinful heart. Put your trust and faith in him. He died to save sinners from their sins.