John’s Gospel Chapter 8
E. L. Lovering, Ilfracombe
Subject - THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. The Second Wonderful Saying.
Study Portion - Chapter 8. 12-59.
Trace three vital principles through John's Gospel - LIFE, LIGHT and LOVE.
In our last study the Lord Jesus claimed to be the Bread of LIFE; here He is the LIGHT of the World; and in our next study, chapter 10, He is the Door of the Sheep and the good SHEPHERD, who in LOVE gives His life for the sheep.
Note that the Lord Jesus is: 'THE' LIGHT (in contrast to 'a' light), 1. 7; the light of MEN, 1. 4; the TRUE light, 1. 9; the light of the WORLD, 8. 12; and the light of LIFE, 8. 12.
Let us now consider –
1. THE FIGURE EMPLOYED v. 12.
'Then spake Jesus, saying, I am the Light of the World'.
History - Act and Fact, Genesis 1. 2, 3.
The history of light is enshrouded in the antiquity of the past. The first reference of divine activity in creation's story is that 'the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, Let there be light, and there was light'. God divided the light from the darkness, and throughout the ages the story of humanity has been one of light and darkness.
Have you ever stopped to ask the question, what is light? The nature and behaviour of light have long been the study of scientists, as they seek to probe the secrets of nature. A thing intangible yet real, possessing the power of illumination yet itself unseen. Its illusive mysteries led the thoughts of men through paths of infinite wonder as new discoveries changed their cherished theories.
If the symbol is so wonderful how much more the substance! Though not yet fifty years old, v. 57, Christ could say 'Before Abraham was, I am', v. 58. Truly man, yet eternally God, and as they took up stones to cast at Him, Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them and so passed by.
The power and energy of light are now well-known. The plant responds to the attractive influence of light as it bends its stalk towards the window; the leaves manufacture the store of food only as they receive their supply of light from the sun; the healing properties of sunlight and its rich supply of vitamins and ultra-violet radiation are now commonplace, whilst the 'invisible ray' in the photo-electric cell is not without its fascination.
Jesus still draws men to Himself by His attractive power; life and healing are still found in Him, and to those who follow Him He promises that they 'shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life'.
A beam of light passes clean and unpolluted, through the dust and darkness. It remains uncontaminated and pure, unaffected by the surrounding impurity. We have only to turn to the opening verses of John 8 to find the Saviour standing pure and holy in the presence of a sinful soul dragged there by those who, unable to cast a stone at her, had left from the eldest to the least.
'Morning by morning Thou didst wake
Amidst this poisoned air;
Yet no contagion touched Thy soul,
No sin disturbed Thy prayer.'
A single ray of white sunlight falling upon a glass prism produces rainbow colours, rich and varied.
Seen with the eye of faith and the help of God's Holy Spirit, what graces and virtues we may see in Christ.
Light has a harmony all its own.
In a bygone day God asked Job, 'Where wast thou . . . when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?' Job. 38. 4-7.
The faint glimmer of light which Abraham had concerning the Lord Jesus, brought gladness and joy to him, v. 56, 'your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad'. How much more do we rejoice in the full glory of the Light of the World.
2. THE FOLLOWERS INVITED.
Man is described, in the Scriptures, as being by nature, a creature of darkness. He 'walks' in darkness, 1 John 1. 6; he 'works' in darkness, Rom. 13. 12; he 'stumbles' in darkness, John n. 10; he 'sits' in darkness, Matt. 4. 16, Luke 1. 79; and he 'loves' the darkness, John 3. 19, 20.
Note, their –
Blindness - darkness of ignorance.
v. 14. Ye cannot tell whence I come and whither I go.
v. 19. Ye neither know me, nor my Father.
v. 27. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
v. 43. Why do ye not understand my speech? because ye cannot hear my word.
Bigotry — darkness of unbelief. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
v. 24. If ye believe not. . . ye shall die in your sins.
v. 25. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? and Jesus said unto them, even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
Bondage - darkness of tradition. The trammels of tradition often blind men to present needs.
v. 32. Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free - but they answered him –
v. 33. We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man.
v. 34. Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin –
v. 36. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Blasphemy - darkness of delusion. The devil is a murderer and the father of lies, there is no truth in him. Jesus said that they were 'of their father, the devil' and could not hear the words of truth.
v. 48. Then said they, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan and hast a demon?
v. 52. Now we know that thou hast a demon. To attribute the works of God to Satan is the sin of blasphemy, and for one who persists in this, there can be no forgiveness. See also Matt. 12. 31.
Brutality — darkness of despair. Force is always the result of despair. The enmity and hatred which had long been latent in their hearts, now burst its bounds in unfettered force,
v. 59, 'Then took they up stones to cast at him'. They were openly at war with Christ. When weapons replace words man is not far from war.
3. THE FAVOURS BESTOWED.
Perhaps it is not without significance that Jesus, the Light of the World, hid Himself and went out of the temple, passing by those who were spiritually blind, to meet a man by the wayside, blind from birth. To him the Lord Jesus became in reality the light of the world.
Read again v. 12 - 'I am the light of the world, he that followeth me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life'; and note the favours and blessings promised to those who follow Him –
Light for Darkness - 'he shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life'.
Read again v. 12 - 'I am the light of the world, he that light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin'.
Life for Death - 'the light of life'.
Read 1 John 5. 11, 12, 'God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son, he that hath the Son hath life'.
Liberty for Bondage - To walk in darkness is to be in fear of bondage.
Read 1 John 3. 8, 'For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil'. He gives deliverance to the captives.
Love for Hate - 'If God were your Father, ye would love me'.
Read 1 John 4. 18, 19, 'There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear and we love because he first loved us'.