The Light of the World
A daily devotion for January 23rd
Dispute Over Jesus’ Testimony
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
13 The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”
14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”
19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”
“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.
Dispute Over Who Jesus Is
21 Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”
22 This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”
23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”
25 “Who are you?” they asked.
“Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”
27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, “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 but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.(John 8:12)
These marvelously gracious words are a reflection on the ceremony that took place each evening in the temple courts, when two giant candelabra (two Menorahs, the many-branched candlesticks used by the Jews), were lighted and they illuminated the whole temple court. It is in reference to this that Jesus declares,
I am the light of the world [not merely Israel but the world; to anybody, anywhere]; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
We must take seriously these beautiful words because Jesus means them. These are not a politician's promise that can completely be forgotten after the election. Our Lord means to fulfill these words in any human life:
I am the light of the world; he who follows me [not just knows about me], he who walks with me, obeys me and stays with me will have light in his pathway.
That is a wonderful promise. There is nothing we need more in this world today than light on our path. People are walking in darkness. Later on in this very gospel Jesus declares,
He that walks in darkness does not know where he is going, (John 12:35). How many people do not know where they are going, not only after they leave this life, but even down the road a little. They have no idea of what is ahead; they are running into disaster and they cannot even see it coming. But the man who has light can see what is in his pathway.
Years ago, when I was driving from Dallas to Southern California, I picked up a couple of young hitchhikers. As we were driving past the entrance to the Grand Canyon, I asked them if they had ever seen the canyon. They said,
No, so we decided to spend the night there. It was late at night and pitch black when we turned off the road. We could not see a thing, but we found what seemed to be an open space and crawled into our sleeping bags. When I awoke in the morning the sun was up. I stretched and threw out my arms, only to find that my left arm dropped down in the void! In the darkness of the dead of the night we had actually made our bed on the edge of a cliff that dropped into the Grand Canyon! If we had gone two steps further we would have fallen over the edge. I gave grateful thanks for the light that morning. That is what the light is for.
Jesus, you are the true light that has come into the world. Help me to walk in your light today.
Life Application: Jesus' claims to be Light and Truth are validated by His death and Resurrection. Do our words and deeds consistently reflect the reality of who He is? Are our minds being transformed by the written Word and by communion with the Living Word?
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