Text – John 8:12-30
Whereas the main question in chapter 7 is, ‘Who is Jesus?’, in chapter 8 this question develops into ‘How do we know that his testimony is valid?’
1. Declaration: “I am the light of the world”
“I” – Jesus points to himself, begging the question: mere man? madman? myth? menace? mistaken? Messiah?
“I am” – The 2nd such statement in this Gospel. N.b. Yahweh’s self-revelation in Exodus and Isaiah.
“I am Light” – representing learning, love laughter, and life (in contrast to darkness, which represents dullness, depravity despair and death).
“I am the Light” – not merely one light among many, but the one true light
“I am the Light of the world” – the source of all true light, without which the world is in utter darkness. And this light is not for a few, but for all.
An outrageous claim, if untrue! Outrageously exclusive (“I am the light…”, and outrageously inclusive (“…of the world”).
Such a claim is doubted by many today, inside the church as well as outside it. No wonder that, at the time, Jesus’ words gave rise to a:-
2. Accusation: “Your testimony is not valid!”
(a) “I am the one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father,” vv14-18.
(c) “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know…,” vv27-29.
In other words, Jesus appeals to (i) the bare reality of the matter; and to (ii) the witness of history. When we witness to Christ today, people may respond as they did to Jesus himself: “Your testimony is not valid!” Both approaches are open to us (‘presuppositionalist’ and ‘evidentialist’ apologetics).
3. Invitation: “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
“Whoever” (open to everyone, including Pharisees!)
“Follows me” (This light is not an ornament to be admired, but a guide to be followed, like the pillar of fire)
“Will never walk in darkness” (in ignorance, uncertainty, fear, without real aim or purpose)
“But will have the light of life” (a life that has meaning, purpose, love, joy, hope, dignity)
V30 – ‘Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.’
Have you seen the light? Are you resolved to follow it, wherever it leads?