Living in the Light

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus is at the Temple having yet another confrontation with the Pharisees. The Pharisees had just brought an adulterous women before Him and had asked if she should be stoned for her sinful behavior. Here the reply of Jesus is that famous statement that we have all heard, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” There were no stones thrown that day and Jesus closed the discussion with the following statement, which is true for all of us after He has forgiven us of our transgressions. “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” Not letting the point of this pass Jesus followed with this statement which provoked the Pharisees into another confrontation. Jesus had come to the Temple to teach and this episode with the adulterous woman was a distraction to that purpose. Now having dismissed the Pharisees and the woman Jesus returned to the purpose that He had come.

Jesus opened His teaching with this statement which again perked the ears of the Pharisees. “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” As usual the Pharisees did not understand the true meaning of what Jesus was teaching. They should have known. In a book by the Rabbis it was written by the Israelites, “The Israelites said to God, O Lord of the universe, thou commands us to light lamps to thee, yet thou art The Light of The World: and with thee the light dwells.” With this being a knowledge the Pharisees knew, the statement by Jesus that He was the light of the world was offensive to them. And the Pharisees replied, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.” Yes they should have known but they refused to believe that this Jesus was the Messiah that the prophets had spoken about.

Light was an important symbol in the Feast of the Tabernacles. And know Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” Light was the symbol of the pillar of fire that led the Israelites in the wilderness after the Exodus from the bondage of the Egyptians. (Exodus 13:21) Jesus who always used examples from the resources of the world around Him took the symbol of the light that led the Israelites and applied it to Himself. In that context Jesus is the light of the world. As God’s light led the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land, Jesus is leading His Church through the wilderness to our eternal home in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus went on to say, he who follows Me.” Of course the Pharisees were thinking that Jesus meant literally and in that moment it could be a true interpretation. But in view of the events that follow later with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit I think the full meaning of Jesus is that of a spiritual walk. We are to follow Him spiritually in faith. Our belief was expressed by coming to Jesus and from that marvelous moment forward we follow Him in faith. “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46) It is through Jesus that we are spiritually born again and it is by His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, dwelling within us that we are transformed into His image.

By coming to Jesus we have repented from this world, we have forsaken our lust and love for this world and seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) Jesus the Creator creates all things new. (Revelation 21:5) We no longer follow the way of the world but we walk in His way. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) As we come to follow Him we grow in all love and affection towards Him, the desires of our soul is to be with Him, we live in remembrance of Him with every exercise of grace and discharge in the good times and through the sufferings and tribulations. Following Jesus as are guide, the Captain of our soul and the Master of our fate, secure in our hope that we will reach the destination of His throne.

The light that we follow is the Word of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) His Word is, “a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) By our hearing and learning of His Word He leads on the sure narrow path. “O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your dwelling places.” (Psalm 43:3)

By following Jesus we, will not walk in the darkness.” In our belief in Jesus our Lord and Savior we shall be saved from our ignorance, our infidelity and sin. His Spirit dwelling within us is the pledge that our salvation is secure. “Who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” (2 Corinthians 1:22) Through Jesus we are the children of God and by His Spirit have the promise of entry into the Kingdom and can stand at the throne in His Righteousness. Therefore, if we are not abiding in Jesus then we are not in the light but to be left in the darkness.

To be left in the darkness is to not know who we are and where we are or where we are going. But by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit we know that we are walking in the light as the blind who now can see. We know in who we believe as He is a personal Lord that is in us and we are in Him. We live through Him in the covenant of His grace and love that while we were yet sinners He gave His life for us. Our hope is set in Him towards our eternal home in the Kingdom of God. A place of eternal happiness and joy and peace. No longer do we walk in the path of uncertainty but in the path of solid belief expressed by our faith in His Word no longer lost in the darkness of unbelief. The eternal darkness of death no longer burdens us with its weight as our Lord has lifted it off our shoulders and His truth has set us free. (John 8:32)

As the Messiah was frequently spoken of by the prophets under the emblem of light, see Isaiah 60:1; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 9:2, the Pharisees must have at once perceived that he intended to recommend himself to the people as the Messiah, when he said, I am the light of the world.

Mankind by the fall in the Garden of Eden was destined to the pit where the wicked shall all be that one and terrible day. For the wages of sin is death and all face that consequence if they are un-repentant. (Romans 6:23) But the one who follows Jesus we have, the Light of life.” “To bring back his soul from the pit, That he may be enlightened with the light of life.” (Job 33:30) By the grace of God the Father we have been drawn to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the well of living water that springs forth to eternal life for the believer. “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) Jesus is a shining light that grows brighter each day within our lives, for in Him we have life. Death and darkness go together hand in hand and the Light of our Lord brings us to life secure in His hand. His light is a light that will not or can be ever extinguished. “Let the righteous rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!” (Psalm 64:10 NIV)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Durant Bible College March 5, 2015

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