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The Message of John (Lesson 14)
The Light of the World | John 8:12
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world."
In John 8, Jesus is teaching in the temple courts in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles.
This feast was an important Jewish festival that commemorated God's provision for and protection of the Israelites during their time in the wilderness between their deliverance from Egypt and entry into the Promised Land in Canaan.
During the festival, four large lamps were set up in the temple courts, which symbolized the pillar of fire that led the Israelites through the desert at night during the journey. The lamps were a reminder of God's presence and guidance for his people.
It’s in this context that Jesus says, "I am the light of the world."
This statement would have been particularly significant for the Jews who were celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, as it connected Jesus to the symbol of the pillar of fire that had led their ancestors through the wilderness. Jesus was saying, “I am that pillar of fire. I am the light you need to follow if you're going to see clearly to navigate life in a dark, broken, and sinful world.”
Today we have electricity that powers lightbulbs at night.
In the ancient world, they didn’t have electricity. At night, it was really dark, especially under cloud cover.
But the darkness of which Jesus speaks is not just a physical darkness but is a spiritual darkness.
It is the darkness of sin that separates us from God and is the root cause of all human suffering and brokenness.
We need a light to show us the way of salvation and reconciliation with God.
Thankfully, the light of Jesus shines most brightly at the cross, which serves as a lighthouse of hope for sinners.
A lighthouse is a tall tower built near a shore or a dangerous reef that is equipped with a powerful light that shines into the darkness to guide ships to safety.
In a similar way, the cross is a lighthouse of hope that shines a light in the darkness, offering salvation and safety to all who look to Jesus as their sin-bearer.
And when we know him as Savior, his Spirit leads us from within as a lamp to guide our hearts, heads, hands, and feet as we follow Jesus.
What does it feel like to be in the dark?
Why was Jesus' claim to be the light of the world significant in the context of the Feast of Tabernacles?
How is the cross similar to a lighthouse?
What does it mean to follow Jesus as the light of the world? How do the Word and Spirit play a role in leading us?
How can we allow Jesus' light to shine in the darkness of our own lives and in the world around us?
Dear Lord Jesus,
We thank you for the light of your grace that has shined into our lives. Even as the Israelites were led in the wilderness by the pillar of fire in the sky, lead us by the light of your Word and Spirit. Help us to follow you as our guide and source of hope, especially when we face darkness. And give us the grace to reflect your light to others, for your glory and their joy.
For we pray in your name, Amen.
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Yours, by grace alone,