“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
Human beings are familiar with the experience of day and night. Light and darkness are used as metaphors. Light symbolizes what is good. Dark symbolizes what is not good or evil. If a person doesn’t understand something, he or she is said to be “in the dark.”
Conversely, if you have an understanding regarding a particular matter, you are considered “enlightened.”
In scripture, light speaks of God (1 John 1:5) and the darkness speaks of sin and Satan (John 3:19-21). Sinners perform deeds of darkness. While God’s people should live as “children of light.” The Book of Revelation tells us there is no night in heaven (Revelation 21:25).
Unbelievers are lost in darkness (John 12:46). Believers are called “out of darkness into God’s marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
In the eighth chapter of John, the religious leaders bring a woman to Jesus who has been caught in the act of adultery. Jesus initially ignores the accusers. As the story progresses, Jesus passes sentence upon the accusers with a profound statement: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
How did the accusers respond? By leaving. John 8:9 notes: “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”
In John 8:10-11, Jesus does not condemn the woman. Instead, he challenges her to go and sin no more. John 8:12 is the pivotal text: “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.’”
In this season of Lent, it is crucial that we remember Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the light that dwells in darkness. God is light and Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
But it is also important that we remember: “… whoever follows Jesus will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” Our present-day world is full of darkness, just as the world was in Jesus’ day. Pain, misery, poverty, war, murder, mayhem, abuse, neglect, addictions, political and religious corruption, and the continued oppression of the poor and disenfranchised are all darkness.
Our joy is found in believing that Jesus is the light of the world. There are two benefits to following Jesus. First, you will not walk in darkness. As a traveler follows the light on a dark night, it is our duty to follow Jesus. It is our duty to submit ourselves to him. His way leads to happiness and to the light.
Secondly, you will have the “light of life.” False lights lead to destruction. But Christ is the true light. It is not enough to just look at his light. It is not enough to just believe in his light. We must follow his light and walk in it daily.
Everyone who follows Jesus will have the “light of life.” The “light of life” is that knowledge and enjoyment which leads to fulfillment in this life, and to the fulfillment of everlasting life.
Dr. Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis. Contact Pastor Adams via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @DrPrestonTAdams. For more information, visit agccindy.org.