Jesus said: “I Am the Light of the World”
Series: The Great I Am
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church — Jan. 26, 2014
(Timing of the Lord’s statement corrected August 29, 2019)
*In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. . .” This “I AM” statement was made while Jesus and a vast multitude of Jews were gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. It was one of the three major feasts each year. And one of the main ceremonies during the Feast of the Tabernacles was the “Illumination of the Temple.”
*Four enormous stands each held four golden bowls. They were set up in the Temple Court of the Women. These 16 golden bowls were reached by ladders and filled with oil. They used the old clothes of the priests for wicks. When those huge lamps were lit at night, they shined light all over Jerusalem. The great blaze lit up every courtyard in the city, and it burned all night long.
*But the next morning, when that manmade fire began to flicker and die, Jesus stood and cried out, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (1)
*The other important background today is the wonderful story of God’s mercy in vs. 1-11. So let’s begin by reading John 8:1-12, as we read, focus on the great truth that Jesus Christ is the Light of the World!
*Take a moment this morning to think about our sun. We tend to take it for granted, because it’s up there in the sky every day. But our local star really is amazing. It’s 93 million miles away, and 864,000 miles across. About one million earths could fit inside! That boggles my mind. And the sun is hot. At the core of the sun the temperature is 28,799,540 degrees Fahrenheit! (2)
*Without the heat and light of the sun, of course, life as we know it could not exist on the earth. The sun is essential. But the real Light of the world infinitely more essential. The sun is amazing. But the real Light of the world infinitely more amazing.
*And Jesus Christ is the Light of the world! But what does that mean? We have to search the Scriptures to find out.
1. FIRST: AS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF LIFE.
*As the Lord said in vs. 12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
*Luke and Matthew both remind us how desperately people need the light of life. Months before Jesus was born the father of John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit. He was a priest named Zacharias, and he began to prophesy about their baby John and the coming Messiah. In Luke 1:76-79, Zacharias said:
76. “and you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77. to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,
78. Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79. to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
*Then at the very beginning of the Lord’s ministry, Matthew 4:13-16 says this about Jesus:
13. . . leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,
14. that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
15. “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles:
16. The people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”
*Everybody desperately needs Jesus Christ! He is the only true Light of life. In Jesus, “the people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”
*What would the world be like without the sun? — Cold, dark and dead, wandering aimlessly about the universe with no hope of ever having life. That’s what people are like without Jesus! As the Light of the world, Jesus is the light of life.
2. HE ALSO GIVES GLORY TO GOD.
*Jesus pointed out this truth to us on the night that He talked to Nicodemus. — So please turn over to John 3:16-21. Here the Lord said:
16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
*In other words: The Light of Christ makes it clear that God gets the glory for any good we do. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31:
27. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
28. and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29. that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption
31. that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
*As the Light of the world, Jesus gives glory to God! We see an example on the Mount of Transfiguration, when Jesus was transformed before Peter, James and John.
*Matthew 17:2 tells us that Jesus “was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” God revealed His glory through the light.
*Then in Acts 26:13-15, Paul gave his testimony of how Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Paul was speaking to King Agrippa and said:
13. “At midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.
14. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15. So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.'”
*Paul said: “At midday, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun!” I am glad that Jesus shines brighter than the sun. And He ought to shine brighter than the sun, because He created the sun.
*The world needs to know that Jesus Christ shines brighter than the sun! And the more they know this, the more they will give God the glory He deserves. As the Light of the world, Jesus gives glory to God.
3. HE ALSO HELPS US SEE GOD’S SALVATION.
*Luke 2 tells us that Joseph and Mary took baby Jesus to the Temple to dedicate Him to God. God had promised faithful, old Simeon that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. So the Holy Spirit led Simeon to the Temple at just the right time.
*And Luke 2:28-32 tells us that when Simeon saw little Jesus:
28. he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29. “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word;
30. for my eyes have seen Your salvation
31. which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32. a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
*Jesus is the light of the world to bring the revelation of salvation to all the peoples of the world. Just a few days before the Lord went to the cross, Jesus was back in Jerusalem. There He told the people He was going to be crucified, and said:
32. “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
33. This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
34. The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
35. Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
36. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” (John 12:32-36)
*Jesus is the Light that shows us the way of salvation.
*Apollo astronaut Jim Lovell told about one of the most frightening times in his life. He was returning from a combat mission and couldn’t find his aircraft carrier. It was night and the carrier lights were off due to the combat conditions.
*Jim’s navigation equipment was of no use because they were under total radio silence. He desperately turned on his map light to see if he could calculate his position, but suddenly an electrical short caused all of the lights to go out.
*It was then that he saw it in the darkness. There was an eerie glow in the water. And Jim knew that it was the glow of tiny sea plankton caused by the wake of a passing ship. All he had to do was follow the light like a highway to the ship.
*I don’t believe that was an accident at all. God caused that electrical short at just the right time for Jim to see the light that saved him down in the water below. Jim never would have made it back to the ship without that God-given light. And you will never make it to Heaven without Jesus! He is the Light of eternal salvation for all who will trust in Him.
4. AS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, JESUS HELPS US SEE GOD’S SALVATION. HE ALSO GIVES US FELLOWSHIP IN THE FAMILY OF GOD
*In his first letter, the Apostle John wrote these words to fellow Christians:
3. that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
4. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
5. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
6. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:3-7)
*Christians: If we “walk in the light as He is in the light,” we will have great fellowship with other believers, with our Father in Heaven, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
*We can have great fellowship in the family of God, because our sins are washed away by the blood Jesus shed on the cross for us. We can have great fellowship, because when we believe in Jesus, God’s Spirit gives us a new birth into the family of God.
*This is why in John 12:36, Jesus said, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” And in Ephesians 5:8, Paul tells believers: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”
*Christians we are sons of light, children of light. And God the Father of lights in James 1:17 has His loving eye on you right now.
*The Winter Olympics starts in just over a week, and I’ve never been to the Olympics. But after our Becky turned 16, she and I took a special trip down to Baton Rouge to see the Olympic ice skaters.
*I don’t know who the Olympic stars are today, but back then it was people like Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul, Victor Petrenko, and a whole lot of other people whose names I can’t pronounce.
*When Becky and I went to that Olympic Exhibition, we had some of the worst seats in the house. We really were in the nose-bleed section! I wouldn’t have been surprised to see some of those oxygen masks drop down, like they have on airplanes. Anyway, the show started, and it got my attention when I heard the announcer say: “These are the best skaters in the world!”
*Later on, Becky went down and found an empty seat on the front row. And as Nancy Kerrigan did her routine, I thought about Becky and the fact that she was my star, or one of them anyway. And my star wasn’t one of the best skaters in the world, but my eyes were on her, because I love her.
*As our Heavenly Father looks down from above, it doesn’t matter if the world has heard your name. You are important to Him. And it all goes back to this wonderful truth that Jesus is the Light of the world.
5. AS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, JESUS GIVES US FELLOWSHIP IN THE FAMILY OF GOD. HE ALSO GIVES US THE LIGHT OF HIS LOVE.
 JESUS GIVES US LOVE FOR GOD’S OWN PEOPLE.
*In 1 John 1:6-7, the Apostle John tells Christians:
6. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
*Then in 1 John 2:7-11, John explained:
7. Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.
8. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
9. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.
10. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
11. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
*Here John was thinking about the commandment that Jesus gave His followers on the night before the cross. In John 13:34-35, Jesus said:
34. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
*Christians: We are supposed to love each other! But that’s not always easy to do, because everybody isn’t as lovable as we are. The only way we can walk in the love we need is to walk in the Light of the Lord! Jesus Christ will give us the unconditional, sacrificial love we need for each other.
*Joey Nelson described it this way:
-“Sacrificial love is silence when your words would hurt.
-Patience when your neighbor’s curt.
-Deafness when a scandal flows.
-Thoughtfulness for other’s woes.
*It’s promptness when tough duty calls.
-And courage when misfortune falls.” (3)
 THAT’S THE KIND OF LOVE GOD WANTS US TO HAVE FOR EACH OTHER, BUT ALSO FOR ALL PEOPLE.
*And this is why in Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells His followers:
14. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
*Other people desperately need to see the Light of the world shining in our lives.
*Barrow, Alaska is located 330 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The sun goes down in Barrow on November 18th, and it doesn’t come back up again until January 23rd. Can you imagine how glad they are to see the light? (4)
*James Cox told about a man who lived near the North Pole during three months of darkness. He said, “I ached and hungered to see the dawn.” (5)
*He was desperate to see the light of the rising sun. But it is infinitely more important for people to see the light of the Risen Savior shining in us today!
*Christians, 1 Peter 2:9 tells us: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
*We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light. We have even been called the light of the world, because we know the true Light of the world, Jesus Christ.
*May God help us to shine.
(1) Adapted from:
“Barclay’s Daily Bible Study Series – NT” by William Barclay – Revised Edition – Copyright 1975 – First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland – The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – “The Light Men Failed to Recognize” – John 8:12-20
Burge, John – NIVAC – pp. 255-256 – Source: SermonCentral sermon “The One Who Can Lead Us Out of Darkness” by Jonathan McLeod – John 8:12-12