A Sermon by Dr. James McCullen
A Portrait of Jesus as the Light of Life
John 8:12 (Ex. 13:21-22 and 13:19-20)

12 Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life."   (NAS)

Recently the Women's Missionary Union celebrated their 100th Anniversary. On the Centennial's closing night , in a ceremony with emotional impact for many, while missionaries carried lighted candles into the dimmed Richmond Coliseum, 11,000 WMU representatives held aloft small flashlights to symbolize Christians as the light of the world.

There is somewhat of a similar setting to the words Jesus spoke. "I am the light of the world. Jesus spoke these words while standing in the section of the temple called "The Court of Women". In this section there were large candelabra. As part of the feast of tabernacles they were lighted. This light flooded the temple and then the people could look to the light and be reminded of the pillar of fire in the wilderness. The ceremony took place on the first night and perhaps all seven nights of the feast. But, when Jesus stood in the temple they were not lit and His words call attention to His Messiahship. Truly He is the spiritual light of the world. Let us consider these words.

I.    The Claim of Light  
Did it ever occur to you that Jesus could not make any claim that would make Him greater then He is , only less. These words are great words telling of a fantastic benefit and they are testified as true by Jesus and all those who have come to Him.

This gospel phrases the same truth in slightly different words. Notice:

John 1:4, "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:9, "There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

John 3:19, "And this is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.

John 9:5, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

It is said in Matthew 5:12, that we who are Christians are the light of the world. That is true as we become reflections of Jesus. It is His light in us that enables us to be light.

Someone tried to make a criticism of a few Christians by saying, "You're just a bunch of moonshiners." They thought this was a put-down, but one of the Christians came back and said, "We're glad you noticed, for you see moonlight is a reflection of the sun. We are moonshiners because we reflect the Son.


The claim is made by Jesus. The statement is given that Christians are the light of the world. It that claim evident in our life: Please follow point two.

II.    The Contrast of Light  
The Greek construction of this verse would literally read: "shall not never walk in darkness." It is a double negative for emphasis and contrast. Let me list some contrast.


Holiness Sin
Boldness Fear
Vision Blindness
Godliness Godlessness
Life Death
Insight Ignorance

The list could go on, but that is enough to cause us to think. How much contrast is there in our life because of the light. All who are Christians must have some light. All of us should desire more spiritual brightness.

There is an allegory written for the little ones, but serviceable to the grown folks: Once upon a time a cave lived under the ground, as caves have the habit of doing. It had spent its lifetime in darkness. It heard a voice calling to it, "Come up into the light; come and see the sunshine. The cave retorted, "I don't know what you mean; there isn't anything but darkness." Finally the cave ventured forth and was surprised to see light everywhere. The Sun asked, "What is darkness? The cave replied, "Come and see." One day the Sun accepted the invitation. As it entered the cave it said, "Now show me your darkness!" But there was no darkness.


That story can be true for us as we help others find the light. Now notice point three.

III.    The Conditions of Light  
Jesus said, "He who follow me." This is the condition. This light is not a spark of divinity in every man. It is not innate light, but received light. You must follow Jesus to receive this radiance. And the closer you follow, the more light you will reflect.

Two young people were walking along a path in the Catskill Mountains. Their conversation had turned to a mutual acquaintance. The young man said, "She has what I call a radiant personality." "That's right," agreed the young woman. "How do you account for it?" They walked along for a few moments, and the, pointing across the river , he said: "See that wonderful old castle?" You know, when I was a small boy, my playmates and I loved to sit on the bank and look across at it. We could tell what was going on there by the number of lights that were burning. If only the family were present, just a few lights would be seen. When guests were entertained, there would be many lights, and the palace became truly beautiful. Once a member of a royal family visited there, and you should have seen the brilliance." The young couple's discussion wandered back to their acquaintance. "I think the only way her radiant personality can be explained is that she is constantly entertaining a Royal Guest." suggested the young lady. He agreed.

Does it appear that we are entertaining Royalty? Sometimes we are bogged down by some critical remarks or a negative thought. If we focus on Jesus, the light of the world, and follow him, we will radiate the light of our royal guest.

Another illustration broadens our understanding of these words of Jesus.   A tourist brought back from Germany a little phosphorescent match-safe. One evening he decided to show it to some of his friends. He turned off all the lights, but the obstinate little match-safe had no shine to it. He concluded that he had been swindled.

The next day, while examining his purchase more closely, he read on one side, "If you wish me to shine, keep me in the sunlight." He followed the directions, put it out where the sun's rays could be absorbed, and when he placed in the dark room found that it had a brilliant glow.

We must do as the words of Jesus instruct "he who follows me...shall have the light..." Now notice point four.

IV.    The Consequences of this Light  
Jesus said, "but you shall have the light of life." This is the consequence of acknowledging Jesus as Lord and following Him. It happens to every believer. No one is too far away if they want to come to Jesus. If a person wants this light they can have it, but only in Jesus.

A child heard that Christians were saints. On one occasion she was taken to a cathedral. She sat watching the sunshine through the windows. She asked her mother, "What are these people on the window? They are saints," was the answer. Then the child said, "Now I know what saints are. They are people who let the light shine through.


Are you presently, I mean right now, a saint? The Bible indicates saints are those made holy through the work of Christ. Because of our receiving His Grace we can have light.


We have looked at the words of Jesus as He claimed to be "the bread of heaven", the light of the world and the quencher of spiritual thirst. Each of these statements can only be true if Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. If He is not the Son of God, the uniquely diving Son of God, then He is an imposter and a liar. What do you say? I say He is the Lord Jesus, my Lord and Savior. He gives light. Do you want this light?


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