TEXT: John 8: 12-20
INTRO: Jesus makes ego eimi or “I am” claims, such as “I am the bread of life; I am the Living Water; I am the Light of the world; I am the Good Shepherd, etc.,” all identifying Jesus with the personal name of God, Yahweh, or as God told Moses, “I am that I am,” representing the fullness, the oneness, and power to accomplish all things and meet the needs of His people.
I. THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD AND THOSE WHO FOLLOW IT. (12)
A.“being Light” :
1.) Universal context: Gen. 1:3, light makes life possible: ability to see, to know, to feel safe, to be led, to help others, etc.
2.) Feast of Tabernacles: remember the provisions of God. Exodus 13, “The Lord went ahead of them in pillar of cloud to lead them on the way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so they could travel day or night.” B. The Light is to be followed for two rewards: a.)They knew God was with them. Ex. 13:22 says, “The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night never left its place in front of the people.” b.) Those who followed the light were certain of their direction.
II. THE LORD’S TESTIMONY CONCERNING HIS PROMISE. (13-20)
A.Deuteronomy 17:6 spoke of accepting testimony against someone charged of a crime, saying, “only on the evidence of two, or of three witnesses, shall a charge be sustained.”
B. Jesus’ defense: READ vss. 14-18. a.) William Barclay says that Jesus ‘ first statement is merely a statement of confidence. He knew Himself! He knew He was the Son of God and not limited by earthly standards. ILLUS: In the mountains we used to go to an orthopedic surgeon who had great credentials: he had gone to a great medical school, he had been the team doctor for the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers and had worked with Olympic Hockey team, and he literally had his clinic rooms wallpapered in newspaper articles of his great successes. When someone would ask him if he thought he could fix an orthopedic problem his answer was very definite “absolutely!” He suffered from a little pride, but he instilled great confidence in those who came to him for help. Jesus was not hesitant about His abilities: He was fully confident. He was actually challenging His accusers to point out a time He had been unable to do what He claimed. b.) Second, Jesus points the different standards of rejecting or accepting His statement. The Pharisees judged on human standards: what they could see or what they knew about a person. They were considering Jesus as nothing more than an itinerate preacher, a carpenter of low esteem, He had no right to make such grandiose promises. But Jesus replied that He did not operate by that limited standard. Instead, when He makes promises, they are based on the fact that He is one with God the Father! c.) Third, Jesus has a second witness: God the Father. How did the Father testify about Jesus? Through the signs Jesus had done: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, teaching the Scripture. It was often noted by some witness to His work that only someone from God could do such things.
We can look to the same witnesses to back up the claims of Jesus. We have His word which explains His work, His followers who were willing to die because of what they had seen, and we see how people who come to Christ live changed and better lives. He can be trusted.
III. JESUS’ ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE PHARISEES. (18-20)
READ vss. 18-20.
A. What Jesus is saying is that those men, who claimed to be the leaders of Israel, did not have the light themselves. They were blind, ignorant, and lost in the darkness of their own pride and ignorance. They walked in darkness because they did not accept Jesus as Messiah. The religious leaders of that day would often say of the Messiah that He was “Light,” and by rejecting His claim they were rejecting His Messiahship. Thus, they could not come to the Father because they rejected His Son.
B. Notice that John gave us the location where Jesus made His claim: “by the treasury, while teaching at the Temple complex.” Was it simply to help certify the historicity of the story or was there more to it? Some scholars say some of the 13 treasury Trumpets were earmarked for giving money to keep the fire and light going in the Temple, which Jesus used as an undergirding analogy for His claim. Perhaps it was His way of saying, “Give yourself to Me and I will fill your life with the light to worship and serve God.” Others say it was a public place and Jesus was making a public offering to all who would receive it. He was the light that could not be hidden.
What difference does it really make to us, this promise Jesus gave? In Matt. 5:14-16, as part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells His followers that they are , “the light of the world. . . . let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to you Father in heaven.” In other words the Light of Jesus is seen in us when we do “good works” that enhance the lives of people and enrich the kingdom of God. When we “shine,” we become witnesses also to the validity of the promise of Jesus. Do you have the Light in you? Are you shining out so people come to you looking to know the Source of your glow? All followers of Christ should do so!