Light is a powerful thing! It has many wonderful qualities. It transfers energy. if it were not for sunlight, the earth would be very, very cold, and there would be no life. keep in mind, there is quite a bit of life in caves, where there isn't any light. It transfers information, allowing us to, with our eyes and brain, interpret where things are in relation to other things, and how that's changing. The celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles plays as prime background to our Lord’s teaching, in this chapter and the one before it. Why? This extravagant claim that Jesus makes in this portion of scripture, stands just before the description of the lighting of the four huge lamps in the temple’s court of women and of the enthusiastic celebration that took place under the light. The Mishnah which is the Jewish oral writings says “Men of piety and good works’ danced through the night, holding burning torches in their hands and singing songs and praises. The Levitical orchestras cut loose, and some sources attest that this went on every night of the Feast of Tabernacles, with the light from the temple area shedding its glow all over Jerusalem.” In this context Jesus declares to the people, “I am the light of the world.”
What a prime time to announce this biblical truth, especially in a time where people who were so caught up in false worship and idolatry and sin was running wild in the streets. See! What Jesus said would have raised some eye brows and caused the people to murmur among festival or crowd. What Jesus was implying is that the worlds, like the Israelites, desperately need this light. First! What is the purpose of the sun to our whole solar system?
- It’s the center our light
- It’s the center and source of heat
- It’s the center of our life
- It’s the center of fertility
For instance, the sun is 93,000,000 miles from the earth. If a baby would start flying to the sun at birth and travel 150 miles per hour, this baby would be nearly 71 years old upon arrival. Also, astronomers estimate that the diameter of the sun is 109 times that of the earth. Its output of energy is 70,000 horsepower per sq. yd. per minute. Lastly, the temperature at the sun’s surface is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s amazing about this portion of scripture is that the sun, in spite of its greatness, is not the "Light of the World." The "Light of the World" is the Son of God. What Jesus is claiming to these people is that He is all those things and much, much more. Remember what John wrote at the beginning of his gospel? John 1:14 says “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The glory and expression of the Godhead was seen in Christ, which is full of endless grace and truth! But what was the reception of such glory?
What was the response from the world and the people of Israel? Well we see the answer to that question right before John explains that this glory came down from heaven to dwell with us. John 1:9-11 say “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” The world doesn’t know Him or care to find out! people of Israel wanted nothing to do with Him. The great majority of people don’t understand the value of their own soul. See the darkness of sin and bondage still hovers over the earth and this darkness still clouds the heart of men and women. This is a sad picture of our culture, or neighborhoods, our country even around the world today.
What Jesus said some 2000 years ago, still resonates this truth to pour culture today! They culture still will not except that Jesus is the source of life and that they need this light as they need the Sun in our solar system to survive. There are two groups or types of people, Jesus addresses with this heart issue of belief. The question I want to ask you this morning which group do you fit into? The groups are………Those who know they need this light and they follow Him by faith. Those that chose to remain ignorant as they stumble in the darkness.
Let’s look at the first group!
THOSE WHO KNOW THEY NEED THIS LIGHT AND FOLLOW HIM BY FAITH
Look what Jesus says because we see promise after promise for those who trust in this Light! "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (v12) First, what does that look like when Jesus says “I’am the Light of the world?” Matthew Henry said “Jesus Christ is the light of the world. The visible light of the world is the sun, and Christ is the Sun of righteousness. One sun enlightens the whole world, so does one Christ, and there needs no more... Christ is the fountain of light, enlightening every man. What a dungeon would the world be without the sun! So would it be without Christ by whom light came into the world, without this glorious light we would still be living in darkness! Darkness of:
Jesus being that light illuminates our desperate need for light! By acknowledging that we need this light we see the promise of this statement! “……..He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (v12) This light [Jesus Christ] is our source of living! To follow Christ is to commit ourselves completely to him as LEADER, SAVIOUR and LORD of our life. This means we submit to Him in every matter of life both doctrinally and practice. Seeking Him and His word and not this world to find answers to my problems or situation in life. Submitting and realizing that he knows what’s best for me because He is my source of living, my source of character, my source of eternal hope.
“following” is another word for “believing” As the Israelites followed the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night they trusted in the One who lead them without questioning. In our lives! In our Christian walk, we must do the same even if he takes us places that pull us out of our comfort zones. This reminds me of the illustration Paris Reidhead gave in His sermon “Ten Shekels and A Shirt” This is what he said to a young Christian man “Before God will do anything for you, you know what you've got to do?" So he said, "What?" I said, "You've got to get out of the car, take the keys around, open up the trunk lid, hand the keys to the Lord Jesus, get inside the trunk, slam the lid down, whisper through the keyhole, 'Lord look, fill'r up with anything you want and you drive, it's up to you from now on'" Again, our surrender to His perfect will is what is called for! That’s what it means to follow the Lord Jesus. It’s our duty is to follow Him to the end with no “buts” or “questions” Why? As John wrote in his last letter “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful." Rev 17:14.
To not be left in darkness is to have the blinders of ignorance self-righteousness removed from our lives. As His children we not doubt, or walk with uncertainty when it comes to our home heaven. There are so many religious people and groups who hope or don’t know if they will make it to Heaven or not! This saddens me because these people are still in darkness and they have not tasted the grace that this Light brings! In the Old Testament there are many examples of those who professed they knew they were saved and where they were going. In Job 19:25-27 Job said "I know..." In Psalm 23:4 David said in the "shadow of death, he had fear no evil" In Psalm 17:13-15 "When I awake I will be satisfied with thy likeness" David was sure of the resurrection and of his salvation. In the New Testament we read! Jesus said these words of assurance “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27-28. The Apostle Paul penned these words of encouragement! “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” To the church of Thessalonica he wrote “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thess 4:13-18. BUT! Sadly as Jesus said to Nicodemus “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19..............................This brings me to the second group!
THOSE THAT CHOSE TO REMAIN IGNORANT AS THEY STUMBLE IN THE DARKNESS.
These men rejected Jesus by what we see in (v13) because they were challenging His witness. See according to the Hebrew Judicial System, truth had to be verified by two witnesses. These men couldn’t and would not believe His witness because of His own testimony. Do you see by contrast? Those who love and follow Jesus trust in Him because He has become light to that person? Here we see when a person neglects His testimony, Jesus becomes darkness to them. The darkness these men had, fill their hearts, is the same sort of darkness that keep the Armies of Egypt form attacking the Israelites as God lead them through the Red Sea. Exo 14:19-20 says “And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.” Do you know how hard it is to walk around in a room without windows when the light is shut off? It’s difficult! This is the heart of many today and those here that Jesus is speaking to! It’s that mentality that “I don’t need your help” ; “I can do it on my own thank you very much”In reality what that tells us about a person is “I love my sin more than you and I don’t need you exposing my your life with your light”They love their darkness more than light!
This is sad because the outcome of this line of thinking is that it leads to everlasting destruction! See, Jesus desires all people come to faith in Him and god takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Listen to what Ezekiel wrote “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live? Eze 18:23
He also wrote “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!" Eze 18:30. Again as these men the saw Jesus as a hindrance to their power and saw Him as an enemy..........But in all reality these men where the enemy! If you or a person does not embrace the truth of the gospel and believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be then you are the enemy because you are a child of Satan and he is your father. Satan, is the father of lies and deceit, who wants to keep you ignorant or blind to the truth as you continue to bath in your sin. The darkness of sin! It’s like the illustration of frog and the kettle “The way to boil a frog is not to put him in a pot of boiling water. If you drop him in the boiling water, he’ll jump out before he’s boiled. So you put him in a pot of cold water, and he’s perfectly comfortable. Then you put him on the stove, and little by little the water gets warm. It’s very pleasant at first. By the time it gets a little warmer, he is swimming around like he is in a frog jacuzzi. But finally, when it’s boiling, it’s too late. His strength has been gradually sapped, leaving him powerless to hop out. That’s how you boil a frog.” The point of the illustration goes as follows…….“The boiling frog gives us great insight into how we gradually move into places and attitudes that are dangerous. We don’t dive right in. We slowly wade in. We start at the shallow end of the pool. And slowly we find ourselves getting in deeper and deeper. But it is so slow that we hardly realize it. Finally, we are in over our heads, struggling to find which way is up." Just like these men that are before Jesus and like so many today, are so in love with darkness that they can’t see the light of day until it’s too late. As one author said “Some people change their ways when they see the light, others only when they feel the heat.”
Jesus is the light of the world! This is your Savior who died for you. He is the One who transforms us, He is the One who leads and guides us. He is Light for everyone who calls upon His name in repentance and faith. Do you have Him in your life? We desperately need Him, because we cannot do it on our own as the world tries to teach and indoctrinate you to believe. It's like this story of “A Father went into a toy store to buy his son a gift. The salesman showed him a new educational toy. It came unassembled, but no matter how the child put the pieces together, they wouldn’t fit. You see, the toy was designed to teach the child how to deal with life. Such is the difficulty of a person without God. He is never able to put his life together. A life without Christ is a life of futility [hopeless, senseless].” So the question comes down to this on a Sunday morning! Do you truly have Him in your life? Your answer will determine what group you fit into! Those who know they need this light and they follow Him by faith. Those that chose to remain ignorant as they stumble in the darkness.