Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
This second “I AM” statement directly follows Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-12). Jesus came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:1-13), and was soon confronted the “Jews” who constantly sought to catch Him in a fault.
On this day, they brought a woman “taken in adultery, in the very act” (John 8:4) on the pretext that they sought His counsel on how to deal with the matter. The Mosaic Law gave clear direction for dealing with such matters: “the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10). Little did the Pharisees realize that they stood in the presence of the One who wrote the law. Their arrogance blinded them to their oversight of a major detail in their accusation. Where was the adulterer? They had no desire for justice. “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him” (John 8:6).
Jesus seemingly ignored their request and proceeded to write something on the ground. Many have speculated about the content of His writing, but we really do not know what He wrote on the ground. Perhaps He was writing the names of all those present that had consorted with this very woman in the past. Maybe He wrote down each man’s name and listed each man’s sins – He would certainly know. In any case, they became impatient and pressed Him for a verdict. “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground” (John 8:7-8). John notes that each was convicted by his own conscience and left one by one beginning with the oldest to the youngest. Apparently, the longevity of the oldest allowed for the accumulation of greater sins.
They all left Jesus alone with the woman. “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” (John 8:10). Not one remained. “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11, emphasis mine). Often overlooked is the fact that Jesus did not excuse the woman’s sin of adultery. Perhaps selling sexual favors was her only means of support. We do not know, but Jesus did not excuse or accept her behavior. He forgave her – as only God can do – but He identified what she did as “sin” and charged her to stop sinning – “go, and sin no more.”
Evidently a crowd had gathered and witnessed the event. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12, emphasis mine). Again John uses the Greek phrase, egō eimi, which literally means “I, I am.” Eime suffices to get the point across. For example Matthew records Jesus’ words: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29, emphasis mine). In this case, a simple eimi makes the point. John also uses the simple eimi when appropriate. For example, in the previous chapter he records: “Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me” (John 7:28-29, emphasis mine). Twice in these two verses, John simply uses eimi. (By the way, the “I am not” that I did not emphasize is the single Greek word ou, which simply means “no” or “not.”)
When John uses egō eimi, he emphasizes the deity of Christ. (See last week’s post.) “The Light of the World” identifies Himself with the Creator. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3, emphasis mine). Our Lord Jesus Christ “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:16, emphasis mine). “The Light of the World” was not created as might be inferred by a strict reading of Genesis 1:3.
“Light,” the most basic form of energy, is mentioned specifically, but its existence necessarily implies the activation of all forms of electro-magnetic energies. Light was not created, since God Himself dwells in light. On the other hand, He created darkness (Isaiah 45:7).
The existence of visible light prior to the establishment of the sun, moon and stars (Genesis 1:16) emphasizes the fact that light (energy) is more fundamental than light givers. God could just as easily (perhaps more easily) have created waves of light energy as He could construct material bodies in which processes function which generate light energy. The first is direct (since God is light!), the second indirect. For the creation of such light generators, see note on Genesis 1:14. (Emphasis mine)
“The Word of God (John 1:1) speaks in Genesis 1:3. The result is light …” Jesus is the light. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:4-5). Light displaces darkness, hence Jesus says, “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
I know a young man who was once exposed to The Light, but he turned his back to “The Light of the World” preferring rather to follow the “enlightened one,” Buddha , the dead and darkened one. His state now is worse than had he never known The Light. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6, emphasis mine). “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19, emphasis mine).
Jesus, the Word of God, the “I AM,” said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12, emphasis mine). “But as many as received [the light of the world], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12, emphasis mine). If that is so, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). If that is not the case, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts … (Hebrews 3:7-8). Come to “The Light of the World,” and be truly enlightened.