The statement of Jesus that He is the light of the world comes at a very opportune time in the ministry of Jesus. The Feast of Tabernacles was ending and yet signs of the celebration was still shining bright. During the Feat of Tabernacles, Israel was remembering when the pillar of fire led the children of Israel in the wilderness. They would celebrate with a torch parade. The city of Jerusalem was glowing with light coming from the temple. It is in this context that Jesus declares that He is the light of the world.
I am. Using the phrase ‘I am’ Jesus is laying claim to the fact of His Deity. In Exodus 3:14 we see God identifying Himself to Moses as the great ‘I am’. In other words, there is no way to fully describe who God is. Words cannot express His greatness. There are no words known to man that can identify who God is. The only thing that can be said is that He is. He is the ‘I am’. He is everything. He is our all in all. As recorded in the Gospel of John, there are several occasions where Jesus uses the phrase ‘I am’ in describing Himself to the people. John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.” John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” John 10:9, “I am the door.” John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life.” John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” The point is that there is no one else but Jesus. He is everything. He is the great I am.
I am the light of the world. Light is something that is still a mystery to man. Even with all of our advances in scientific study we still do not fully understand the concept of light. Is light the absence of darkness? Is darkness the absence of light? We may say that a room is filled with light. But, what do we mean by that? Does it mean that the room is heavier because there is light? The sun is our main source of light, yet, it has been scientifically proven that we do not have to have the sun in order to have light. The existence of light is certainly to our benefit. There are many things that we could not do if it were not for light. Yet, Jesus says that He is the light of the world. One thing we know light does is that it enables us to see. It brings things out in the open. It reveals that which is hidden. Jesus just exposed the sins of the Pharisees who brought the woman caught in adultery to Him. Jesus reveals the fact that they were just as guilty as she was and with this revelation they all flee. When a light is turned on all the rats, bats, and bedbugs crawl away. Light has a way of exposing sin. This is why the woman’s accusers left the scene. Jesus then says to all those who came to hear Him teach that He is the light of the world. When Jesus shows up, sin is exposed. This is why some of the greatest revivals that has ever taken place began with mass confession of sin. When Jesus shows up, when the light shines through; hearts are convicted, sin is revealed, and confession and repentance is in order.
He that followeth Me. With Jerusalem lit up for the celebration of the Feat of Tabernacles, the nation of Israel is reminded of how God lead them through the wilderness. They were reminded of their need to follow God. Jesus is saying to the people here that just as your ancestors followed the pillar of fire, you are to follow Me. Now you and I today do not have a pillar of fire to guide us nor do we have Jesus physically with us. However, just as Jesus was the revelation of God to man while He was on this earth, the Bible is God’s revelation for us today. Therefore, to follow Jesus today is to follow the Word of God. How can we know God’s will for our lives? How can we follow the path that God has for us? How do we know how we are to live as Christians? By getting in the Book. The Bible is God’s roadmap for the believer. It is our guidebook for life. It is the light that illuminates our path. We are to read it, study it, soak it up like a sponge, for without it we will be lost in the darkness of this world.
He the followeth Me shall not walk in darkness. Look at 1 John 1:5-7. The scripture is very clear that if we walk in darkness than we do not belong to Jesus. These are very strong words. What does it mean? It means that if you are a living in a continual lifestyle of unrepentant sin, then you have never truly been saved. Those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior will be transformed by the power of the Gospel and they will walk in the light. This does not mean that they are perfect. This does not mean that Christians do not sin. To walk in darkness is to live a lifestyle of continual sin. In other words, when a true Christian sins, he or she does not stay in their sin. Instead, they confess their sin and repent of their sin. When you follow Jesus, darkness will be appalling to you. When you follow Jesus, you will not want to sin. When you follow Jesus, your desire will be to please Him and bring Him glory in all that you do. When you follow Jesus, you will not walk in darkness.
Shall have the light of life. I believe that the statement that those who follow Jesus will have the light of life is in reference to two things. (1) Those who follow Jesus has eternal life. To follow Jesus is both to believe on Him and to live for Him. The Bible is very clear that those who believe on the Lord Jesus will have eternal life. Those who walk in darkness will live in eternal death. Those who follow Jesus and walk in the light has eternal life. (2) Those who follow Jesus has abundant life. Jesus did not just save us for our future, He saved us for the here and now. To follow Jesus and walk in the light is to live the abundant joyous life that Christ has to offer us right now. Jesus has given us the light of life, therefore, we should live! As Christians we have the best of both worlds. We have the joy of living a life of purpose and meaning and we have the joy of living eternally with Christ in heaven.
In the midst of a dark world, Jesus is the light. Those who come to the light and live in the light has eternal abundant life. Are you following Jesus or are you walking in darkness?