The term, "Light of the world," was used generously in Jewish literature, and Jesus the "Great I AM" was and still is that Light. It would be difficult for most Christians to imagine living in this world without Him. But we need not worry; He has promised never to leave or forsake us. (Heb 13:5)
Still at the "Feast of Booths" Jesus has interacted with His family, been wrongly accused by the authorities, and the people wonder if He is the Christ.
In this study, He declares Himself to be, "The Light of the World and continues His discourse with the Jewish leaders.
Verse 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."
"Whoever follows me."
Jesus, the light of the world, the Great "I AM" is our commander. Just as a soldier follows his captain, and a slave his master, so are we are to follow His commands in Scripture.
Jesus was in the area of
the temple where candles were burned to symbolize the pillar of fire that led the people of Israel
through the desert, (Exodus 13:21).
The pillar of fire represented God's presence, protection, and guidance. It was in this setting and context that Jesus referred to Himself as, "the Light of the World."
VERSES 13-14: "So the Pharisees said to him, "You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true."
They would not accept the four witnesses Jesus had presented and insisted that the only evidence He had was His testimony which was not acceptable.
14Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going."
Where were these people when Jesus, the "Light of the World," presented the best possible witnesses to prove that His testimony was true? His witnesses were, God the
Father; Scripture; John the Baptist; and the miracles He had performed (John 5:31-47).
The people who confronted Jesus knew nothing about Him. They only wanted what would most expediently accomplish their purpose.
VERSE 15-16: "You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me."
Paraphrased: Your judgment is on the level of this sinful world. And even though I am "God the Son," at this time, I am not judging anyone. But if I do, it will be an accurate and sound judgment, because I judge in union with the Father.
Jesus, as a man, needed to pray to the Father for strength and guidance; As "God the Son," He shares in making decisions; in this case, to pass judgments, ("I and the Father who sent me").
VERSE 17: "In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true."
The "Old Testament Law" recognized the strength of two witnesses, over one.
VERSE 18-19: "I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me. They said to him therefore, Where is your Father? Jesus answered, You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also."
"In saying, "I am one" Jesus made a clear reference to the plurality of the persons in Deity.
The people had no comprehension of the Deity or mission of Jesus. Considering this, their attitude and hostility are not surprising. To them, the "Father" Jesus mentions is not present, therefore, not admissible as a witness.
They had asked, "where, is your Father?" But the answer Jesus gave was, "Who His Father was."
VERSE 20: "These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come."
Concerning the treasury:
The temple treasury was in the "Court of Women." There were 13 collection boxes for the temple tax; and six for freewill offerings.
This was the area where the poor widow had placed a small amount of money in one of the boxes, and Jesus said she had given more than the others, (Luke 21).
Once again, Jesus was not arrested, because it was not God's appointed time.
VERSE 21: "so he said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come."
They would die in their sin because they were rejecting the Messiah. He was speaking of "Heaven" when He said, "where I am going you cannot come."
VERSE 22: "So the Jews said, "Will he kill himself, since he says, 'Where I am going, you cannot come'?"
It is difficult to know if they were this ignorant or if this was spoken in spite.
Suicide was considered then, as it is now, to be one of the worst crimes; and it is possible they asked this question with hostility and disdain.
VERSES 23-24: "He said to them, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
There was a vast chasm separating them from Jesus teaching. They were earthly; He was from heaven.
In saying, "You are from below" meant that they were of the earth, influenced by worldly sensual and wicked desires. "I am from above" (Heaven) meant, I am not of this world, and my views are above the evil principles of this world.
Verse 24: "I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins."
By Jesus saying, "If you do not believe I am He," points to the absolute necessity of faith in receiving salvation, and in one of our studies He tells them, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
VERSE 25: "So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been telling you from the beginning."
The Greek text says, "I Am," which is like, the "I AM," in Exodus 3:14.
This statement implied the self-existence of the Messiah but was a term beyond the grasp of these hearers.
VERSE 26: "I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him."
This is different. Here, He has much to say and to judge 'about them; and, to declare what He has heard from God the Father.
VERSE 27: "They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father."
At this point, most of us can probably agree that their misunderstanding was pathetic!
And, verse 28 says merely:
VERSE 28: "So Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me."'
Here again, we are given a glimpse of the close relationship that existed between the Father and the Son. At some point, after Jesus' glorification, the people would recognize His deity and realize; that the mission of Jesus was brought forth by the Father's authority.
VERSE 29: "he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him."
There was a constant presence of the Father in Jesus' life,
Jesus, the "Light of the World," didn't only occasionally do the will of the Father; there was never a moment when He did not do the Father's will.
And our last verse in this study, verse 30 says:
VERSE 30: "As he was saying these things, many believed in him."
In a previous study many Followers left, here, many believe.
This concludes our study of, "I am the light of the World."
Our Next Study is:
"Children of Abraham"
Jesus' students were descendants of Abraham; And they were attempting to stand on their rights to Heaven simply because of their ancestry.
Gospel of John Bible Study, main Page
Why is it so difficult for our educators and society, in general, to understand that love and respect for one another taught from a young age can solve much of the world's hostility and social problems!
"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov 22:6).
Love is the answer!
True loyalty springs from the heart and is wrapped in love. It is often in our most private moments that true loyalty, or the lack of it, is made known.
Reaching the world with the message of Jesus
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Samuel L Mills
PO Box 4456
Maryville, TN 37802