“I AM the Light of the world” – John 8:12
How is this “I AM” good news for you?
John 8:12: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
The promise Jesus gave in John 8:12 can best be understood in the context of the opening chapter of Saint John’s Gospel. In the first chapter, John presents Jesus in terms of light. He says that at the creation of the world, Jesus was the Word in whom was life, which was the light of men. Very shortly into this account of Jesus, John makes clear that light is tied to life. And the bringer of that light and life is Jesus.
Saint John then establishes the role of the preacher, as shown by John the Baptist, the one who bears witness to the light to bring belief to all people (John 1:7). The faith John preaches of is in Jesus, the true light who is coming into the world. The promise that this Word will bring is as follows: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12,13). Thus, the promise of Jesus as the light of men was given in the world’s dawning.
Through his restating of God’s initial promise of a savior, John shows how the promise of Jesus and his light were given at the beginning of time, foreseeing the age when the Son of God would come to fulfill this promise.
Now coming to John 8:12, Jesus says to the people, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” By Jesus claiming his role as the “light of the world,” Jesus is proclaiming to the people that the Savior they have been waiting for has arrived. The promise of light in the form of life will be given through his flesh and his bones. He is restating the promise that Saint John spoke of earlier in this gospel, the promise that to all who have faith in Jesus, they will become children of God and have the light of life.
To you baptized children of God, Jesus has sealed his promise on you that you have received Christ’s light, and you shall not walk in darkness. The way is set for you, for Jesus has claimed you as a child of God, born not of blood nor flesh nor man, but of God. For as Paul says in his second letter to Corinth, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” May you rest assured in the promise of light and life, as fulfilled in Jesus Christ and given freely to you in your baptism. Amen.