“THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD” John 8:12
CWBC – 9/16/18
INTRO – 9/11/01 was a DARK day for America. Darkest day I’ve ever experienced as a citizen of US. Probably true for most of us here today. Some of you who are a little older may remember the assassination of President JFK, & the DARK time that brought to our nation. The space shuttle disasters were DARK times in our land.
8/29/05 was another DARK day for America. Hurricane Katrina crashed ashore on the Gulf Coast, wreaking havoc & wrecking lives in New Orleans, the Ms Gulf Coast, & many other places.
Darkness continues to hover over our land as babies continue to be legally murdered by abortion, as homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land, as school shootings, church shootings, & crime in all forms continues to happen. Darkness continues to hover over our land as our major cities continue to implode due to crime, drugs, immorality, & corruption. Darkness continues to hover over our land as sexual immorality in every imaginable form happens in every city, every town, & every rural area. Darkness continues to hover over our land as once strong churches & denominations that used to faithfully preach the Gospel now water it down so they won’t offend anyone or cause anyone to feel uncomfortable in any way.
All of us here today can look back on our own lives & see some very DARK times in our lives – times when death has invaded our lives suddenly; sickness has entered into our lives in an unwelcome way; our sinful choices have brought pain, misery, & destruction; families have been ripped apart in a multitude of different ways. We feel like the psalmist when he said in Ps. 43:3b – “…Why must I wander around in darkness, oppressed by my enemies?” Col. 1:13 tells us that we have been “rescued from the domain of darkness,” but sometimes, we have to confess that we find ourselves stumbling & fumbling around back in that domain again, either due to our own foolish choices, or due to the ravages of living in this fallen world.
Lots of folks are scared of the dark, so they need a nightlight to be shining when they go to bed. The darkness brings a sense of uncertainty & foreboding danger, so we carry flashlights w/ us. The darkness can obscure or hide obstacle in the roads we travel on, so our vehicles are equipped w/ headlights. We are constantly looking for ways to dispel the physical darkness in our lives by installing floodlights on the outside of our homes. We call the power company when the streetlight goes out in front of our home b/c we don’t want that darkness to be in front of our house.
EXPLANATION – When Jesus made the powerful claim that He is the light of the world, it was a great claim w/ a great promise.
Context: Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths – One of the 7 feasts the Jewish people observed to remind them of God’s deliverance out of Egypt. Listen to what one commentator said about this feast & about the significance of Jesus’ announcement as the Light of the World: “On the first night of Tabernacles and apparently on each night of the feast except on Sabbath, the worshipers awaited the signal of the special lighting of the festive golden lamps of Tabernacles in the court of women. The lamps were intended to remind worshipers of God’s leading the people of Israel through the wilderness at night by a pillar of fire. The lighting of lamps also signaled Israel’s recommitment to the God of light, and it was accompanied by festive music of the Levites and special dancing by chosen men of piety (m. Sukk. 5:1–4).
Jesus’ words of announcement in this context would have sounded like an outrageous claim to the ears of the Pharisees. He went beyond the usual religious assertions of enlightenment and actually claimed to be the luminary itself. Moreover, he claimed to be the light “of the world,” a role reserved for Yahweh, the Creator (cf. Gen 1:3), who was regarded as superior to all deities including the sun god of the Gentiles. But that was not all. Jesus picked up the theme of the wilderness wanderings and proclaimed for those who followed him that they would not walk in darkness but have the light of life. To anyone familiar with the exodus story and the celebration of Tabernacles, Jesus was identifying himself clearly with the God who gave Israel this Feast of Tabernacles.”
APPLICATION – In a world that is growing darker all the time, Jesus is the Light of the world.
THE PERVASIVENESS OF THE DARKNESS – Obviously, the reason that there is a need for the Light of Jesus is b/c of the pervasive darkness that is all around us. “…Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness…” Isaiah 9:2 – “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.” (NIV)
Word “darkness” is used throughout Scripture to describe the works of man.
- Refers to the condition of those who don’t know Christ as Savior. John 12:46 – “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”
- Symbolizes being unprepared & unwatchful – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 – Paul talking about the 2nd coming of Jesus. Verse 4 – “But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.”
- Those who are without Christ love the darkness. John 3:19 – “…God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” (NLT)
– THE DARKNESS OF IGNORANCE – America has a literacy problem, but it’s not just that almost 14% of the adult population cannot read. It’s a biblical illiteracy problem. Tons of people have such little understanding of the Bible & its life-changing truths.
Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet & a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:130 – “The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.”
– THE DARKNESS OF SIN – No doubt our lives are overwhelmed w/ darkness when we give in to temptation & sin.
John 1:5 – “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 3:19-20 – “This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.” (CSB)
Romans 13:12 – “The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (CSB)
– THE DARKNESS OF ANXIETY & FEAR – How many of you would say that anxiety & fear brings a heavy darkness into your life? Been there? Are you there right now?
Proverbs 4:18 – “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”
But that path grows dark when our lives are filled w/ anxiety & worry & fear.
– THE DARKNESS OF DESPAIR – That overpowering sense of desperation, despondency, & discouragement that settles in on us sometimes.
Some of those who came to Jesus for help were in a state of deep despair – parents whose kids were sick & dying; people w/ lifelong debilitating health issues; people whose lives were wrecked by the consequences of sin – all languishing in the darkness of despair.
Psalm 30:10-12 – “Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper! You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”
But it’s hard to do this when we are consumed w/ the darkness of despair.
– THE DARKNESS OF DEATH – All of us have experienced the pervasive darkness that death spreads over our hearts. Grief brings a sense of darkness to our hearts. Loss brings a sense of darkness to our hearts. But Jesus brings His light & life into those times.
John 1:5 – “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
THE PROMISE OF THE LIGHT – It’s really simply & tremendously profound: Believe in Jesus & follow Jesus, & you’ll have the light of life. The darkness will be dispelled & conquered, & you will have all the light you need.
- His light will reveal truth to you.
- His light will illuminate your path & show you the way to walk.
- His light will guide you all the way to heaven where there is no darkness.
- His light will wipe away the darkness & chaos in your life.
- I have a friend who fell this summer & suffered a concussion. Lingering effects. “Apocalyptic headaches.” His words: “This is the bleakest place I’ve ever been in…”
- Was able to encourage him today w/ the truth that Jesus, the Light of the world, will wipe away the chaos in his life.
THE PLAN FOR THE LIGHT
The plan is that we are to believe in the Light, follow the Light, & BE the Light.
BELIEVE – Salvation comes through believing in the Light.
- Acts 16:31 – “Believe in the Lord Jesus & you will be saved…”
- John 12:36 –“While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
FOLLOW – Daily walking w/ Jesus means that we will be walking in the light.
- 1 John 1:5-9 – “5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
BE – As we follow Christ daily, we will let His light shine through our lives for others to see Him in us.
- Matthew 5:14-16 – “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
- Old hymn: “Let others see Jesus in you, let others see Jesus in you. Keep telling the story, be faithful & true. Let others see Jesus in you.”
 Borchert, G. L. (1996). John 1–11 (Vol. 25A, pp. 295–296). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.