JOHN 8:12 (part two)-14
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 8:12a (Holman) Then Jesus spoke to them again: AI am the light of the world.@
At the Feast of Tabernacles, water was a prominent symbol (7:38). The water ritual recalled the rock supplying water in the wilderness, served as thanksgiving for rain on the crops, and was a request for future rains.
The other major symbol of the Feast of Tabernacles was light. In the temple, huge lights were lit every night of the Feast.
The candelabra pictured the pillar of fire which guided Israel in the wilderness. They also served as symbols of good and evil.
These lights represented that here, in the Temple, in God=s presence, is where moral decisions were to be made, where good and evil were determined.
The temple was always crowded when priests came to light the lamps. Special bleachers were erected to let spectators view the ceremony.
Four huge golden candelabra, each 75 feet tall, were lit. The blaze was so bright that it lightened the Jerusalem sky.
During the feast, throughout the evenings, people danced, sang Psalms, and praised God. Joy and revelry lasted for one week, but then it all abruptly ended.
During this partying, Jesus said, AI am the Light of the world.@ He was claiming to be the new Pillar to guide God=s people, the new Determiner of good and evil.
In essence, Jesus said, AIf you follow Me, there will be light for all of life, not for only one week.@ Temple lights flicker and die, but Jesus shines for ever.
Jesus is the Light in which we see the Father, the will of God, the law of God, the purposes of God, the love of God. Jesus reveals God to us, and reveals us to ourselves. As dust in a room is not plainly seen till light shines in, so we don=t know ourselves till Christ=s light reveals us to us.
The sun enlightens our natural world. Christ lights our moral world. In our spiritual universe, we need no light other than Jesus.
John 8:12b AAnyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.@
Jesus guides and illuminates. He also gives life. Jesus is the Light which gives life to us.
When our sun shines on vegetation, a plant takes in the light, enjoys it, and grows thereby. Similarly Christ brings not only illumination, but also life, to our hearts.
Eddystone lighthouse, standing on a dangerous group of rocks in the English Channel, has inscribed on it, ATo give light and to save life.@ This aptly describes what Jesus wants to do for us.
Light causes plants to thrive. A flower won=t blossom if it never sees sunlight. Our lives can never fully thrive until illuminated and enlivened with the light of the presence of Jesus. He causes us to bloom and bear fruit.
As we blossom, we are drawn toward the Source of our strength. The rays in Christ attract as well as emit. They draw followers as well as empower them. Plants are drawn toward the sun, believers are drawn by magnetic influence from Jesus= love.
Some flowers close their petals and droop their heads in a storm, but once the sun comes out, its light looks at the flowers and the flowers respond. As light draws the flower, it opens its petals, lifts its head, and regains its glory.
Our hearts, by intimate communion and contact with Christ, gain strength. We the feeble have contact with the strong and gain strength.
Jesus guides us, teaches us, empowers us, enlivens us, attracts us. More and more of Him is all we need.
John 8:13 So the Pharisees said to Him, AYou are testifying about Yourself. Your testimony is not valid.@
Jesus= opponents strongly objected to His bold testimony about Himself. They felt His claims were not valid, not backed by sufficient witnesses. They felt someone else of authority should validate His words.
Further witnesses would have testified in vain. There is no way to convince a person that light is shining.
Light is self-evidencing. If people deny it is shining, there is no room for discussion. Their denial does not destroy the light, but reveals their blindness.
The Pharisees could not see because they would not. Their appeal for more witnesses was a smokescreen to camouflage their self-imposed blindness.
John 8:14 AEven if I testify about Myself,@ Jesus replied, AMy testimony is valid, because I know where I came from and where I=m going. But you don=t know where I come from or where I=m going.@
The leaders were trying to judge something they knew nothing about. Jesus was far outside their realm of knowledge.
Note the tragedy here. The leaders prided themselves on their light. They claimed they were enlightened, but the glory days of Judaism were long past.
In a former temple, God=s glory lit the Holy of Holies. His visible majesty had glowed within the veil centuries earlier. But now a dark, empty shrine indwelt the Temple, bespeaking bleak faith and departed Glory.
This did not mean God was no longer shining. Into this dark world stepped One who said, AI am the Light of the world.@ The flesh of Jesus was a new veil (Hebrews 10:20), which simultaneously revealed and concealed God=s light.
In Jesus we were allowed to see God=s glory without being blinded by the intolerable blaze. God is Light. The body of Jesus was the lighthouse from which the fulness of God Almighty shone safely on dying sinners.
The purpose of Jesus= flesh was to moderate God=s dazzling majesty. Grace hinders us from seeing God in all His Light.
We cannot look at our sun due to its brightness, and yet it is not the universe=s original light. Its brilliance is borrowed from a source even brighter.
The first three days of creation saw no sun, yet there was light. What could serve as a luminary bright enough to warm Earth and spawn its vegetation? The only reply is, AGod is Light.@ When 2,000,000 Hebrews needed a guiding light in the wilderness, God led them in a pillar of fire, whose light had to be muted by a cloud.
When Moses saw the Lord=s glory, he did not know some of God=s light had been transferred to him. Moses Adid not realize that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord@ (Exodus 34:29). The people feared him and would come near him only when he covered his face with a veil.
God=s light overwhelmed Saul. He was blinded by a light shining out of heaven (Acts 22:11).
John turned to see the voice and saw One whose eyes were a fiery flame, whose face shone like the midday sun (Revelation 1:14,16).
What will we believers do when our sun is removed? We will live on in God=s light. There will be no night, no need for candle or sun, for God will be the light (Revelation 22:5).
The thought is exciting to ponder. Have we made preparations to enter this place? Do we have a reservation?