Ever wonder what Jesus had to say about Himself? John wrote down one of Jesus’ conversations with the religious leaders.
He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. John 2:25
As we walk through John 8, there are several key statements that we will follow. The first one is His confession of being the Light of the world,
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John began his gospel with the analogy of Jesus being light, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind [notice the correlation to the end of verse 12]. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5), and in 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” He then gives this explanation of that Light in 3:19-21,
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
We understand that Jesus is talking about truth, specifically the truth concerning His Coming. Turning to Jesus has to do with turning from doing evil to doing good. We don’t do it on our own; we don’t want to. But, when He calls us, the mere sound of His voice beckons us to turn away from our acts of evil and to gaze upon His face. We come into His light.
But wait, there’s more! In John 7:2, it states that it was time for the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles. From Illumination of the Temple Ceremony:
During the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) there was a great ceremony called the “Illumination of the Temple,” which involved the ritual lighting of four golden oil-fed lamps in the Court of Women. These lamps were huge menorahs/candelabras (seventy-five feet high) lighted in the Temple at night to remind the people of the pillar of fire that had guided Israel in their wilderness journey. All night long the light shone their brilliance, it is said, illuminating the entire city.
In celebration and anticipation, the holiest of Israel’s men danced and sang psalms of joy and praise, before the Lord. This festival was a reminder that God had promised to send a light, the Light, to a sin-darkened world. God promised to send the Messiah to renew Israel’s glory, release them from bondage, and restore their joy. Imagine that you are in ancient Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles. Visualize seeing these massive menorahs giving a tremendous amount of light. Now imagine the impact of the words said by Jesus in the Temple courtyard when he announced, “I am the Light of the world.”
Jesus is the Light, the source of illumination to bring the lost out of darkness. Jesus declared himself to be the Light of the world. It is not clear from the text when this incident happened, but it was some time between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast Of Dedication (Hanukkah); both of these celebrations focused on light.
Jesus’ announcement of Him being the Light of the world was a direct correlation to Isaiah 9:1-2,
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
Matthew corroborates John’s story in 4:12-16. Jesus was clearly identifying Himself as the long-awaited Messiah. I’m curious about what else He has to say about Himself. We will see tomorrow.
Abba, thank You for sending Jesus to be our Light. The truth about You, Your love, and Your plan are much clearer now that we have His Spirit illuminating us from within. Amen.