Key Verse: John 8:12
Picture this. Jesus is standing in the temple and it's packed full of people, shoulder to shoulder, celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. As evening comes, candelabras are lit all over the courts. And with every bright candle, the Jews remember with reverence and gratitude how the Lord God guided their ancestors with light from Heaven through the wilderness in Egypt.
Then, in that environment, Jesus begins to teach. A hush spreads through the crowd and He speaks these words, John 8:12, “I AM the light of the world.” I’ve been thinking about how these words might have been received in this setting at this celebration. These people are all gathered to celebrate and remember God as the light. Is Jesus claiming He is the guiding light of God sent from Heaven?
In the Old Testament, light is associated with God. All the way back to the beginning in Genesis. So when Jesus claims, “I AM the light of the world,” He is actually claiming to be both the I AM (God) and the LIGHT (of the world). And not just ‘a’ light, but THE light.
So what does it mean that He brings light to the world? We live in a world that is divided in so many ways. I mean today, over vaccines, mask mandates, politics, I mean, every topic you can basically imagine we are divided! And it’s so easy for us to point to the problems ‘out there’ in the world or even ‘over there’ at another church, political party, neighbor, anything on the other side of your own opinion. We want Jesus, The Light of the World, to bring light to the things we don’t like and disagree with. Now some of them need light for sure. But here’s the truth, we need it too. And the 1st century Jews thought the same things! They expected Jesus to come in and defeat Rome… see, the problem the source of all of the darkness was “out there.” But what the Pharisees missed was that The Light didn’t just come to solve problems ‘out there’ but also to address the ones inside their own hearts and inside the church, in here.
So let me ask you, are there places hidden in the darkness in your life or heart or maybe mind? The thoughts you think? Places that might be too painful to even think about or feel too dark to admit? Even in this moment listening to this. Are there thoughts that make you feel alone and anxious or isolated? Things that you don’t even want to think about so it’s easier to turn on Netflix at night, whatever distraction you tend to go to… When we allow Jesus, The Light of the World into those places He begins His work. Not to shame us or condemn us, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. To bring healing and life and hope there. To show us a way out. A way to be transformed in order that we might become more like Him.
In Matthew 5, Jesus turns to His disciples and says, “You are the light…” Meaning, you’re meant to be a reflection of Him! Your life, when open to the light, becomes Christ in YOU as you “have the light of life” (John 8:12). When we invite Jesus, the light of the world and the source of all light to light up our lives, we carry His light to the world as we reflect His glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You for being the light of the world and for being light to me. I want to share Your light but I know that I must allow Your light to search my heart and mind first, exposing darkness, negative emotions, and doing whatever transforming work You desire to do in me. So even now I even just want to sit in silence, listening to this. Trusting that truly God, You are on the move. What are You bringing to the surface? Give me courage to identify and invite You into the places that I feel are hopeless or shameful. Heavenly Father we need Your light to shine in so that through us we might reflect You to the world. Thank You for being the light, Jesus. Amen.
Adapted for Devotionals Daily by Megan Fate Marshman, author of John: Believe I Am.
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If we want to be light in our towns, schools, communities, and work environments, we have to let The Light of the World in to every part of our lives and do His work in us! We need to be transformed by His love. Let’s not hold back. Let’s give Him every part of our hearts. ~ Devotionals Daily