VERSE OF THE DAY
John 8:12 (New Living Translation)
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Jesus spoke to the people once again and said “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have light that leads to life.”
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Related Topics: Jesus, Life, Light, Walk, Darkness, All Topics…
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
After stumbling around in the dark watering my yard last night, I was overjoyed to find a flashlight so I wouldn’t meet any unexpected “critters” as I reached into the shrubbery to turn my faucet on and off. My joy, however, is far greater at finding Jesus, who illuminates my heart on my darkest nights, illuminates my future with his coming glory, illuminates my path with his words of truth, and illuminates my hope with the dawning of each Sunday, my weekly reminder of his triumph over the grave.
Father, dear precious and holy God, how can I ever thank you enough for the light of my life? Until my face reflects the light of your glory, Jesus will light my way. Thank you. In the name of Jesus, the Light of the world, I praise and thank you. Amen.
The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to email@example.com.
What Does “Light of the World” Mean in the Bible?
Christianity.com Editorial Staff
In Jesus Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount,” he first preaches to His followers the Beatitudes, of who shall be blessed by God, and then of salt and light. Here Christ tells them “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Light of the World in Scripture
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
We are called to be the salt and light in the world. But what does that mean?
When salt is applied, it dissolves inward and disappears. The salt speaks of the inward part, the character of the Christian.
Jesus also described His people as being like light, which is on the outside. The light speaks of the testimony of a follower of Christ, revealing and illuminating the truth.
You Are the Light of the World
Jesus was speaking to a crowd of just ordinary folks. Yet Christ said to them, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Even today, you are the light of the world. That’s how God intends to get his work done on earth today: through you! It’s not just pastors and missionaries who are the light; it’s everybody who loves the Lord.
How to Be the Light of the World
1. Share Your Faith in Christ
God takes an ordinary person and uses them to share His message to people who needed Him. When we share our faith, we spread His light. You were saved to shine! Don’t hide your testimony or be ashamed to take your Bible to work. Don’t be afraid to pray over your lunch at school. Let others know that you love the Lord Jesus.
2. Take Light Where It’s Dark
Jesus describes what we are in this passage – the light of the world, not the light of the church. That means we have to get beyond the church walls and take the light out to where it is dark.
3. Shine Together as the Church
Jesus also talked of the strength of collective light. Each house in a city with its lights on cast a glow across the sky. As Christians come together, there is a glow for the Lord that we cannot create individually. We shine brightest when we shine together.
4. Live Surrendered to the Lord
How can we shine for God? Jesus says that we are to let our lights shine before men in such a way that they will see our good works and glorify God (Matthew 5:16). That’s how we do it. We live for God.
We have to surrender our lives to Him completely. Christ says we are to “let” our lights shine. In other words, when you get right with God and are filled with the Holy Spirit, He will simply shine through you.
John 8:12 Meaning of I Am the Light of the World
Jun 5, 2020 by Editor in Chief
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
Explanation and Commentary of John 8:12
Anyone who struggles to understand the world needs only look to Christ in and by whom all things are illuminated. In Christ all the questions are answered: How did we get here; what’s wrong with the world; how can it be fixed; what is the meaning of life; how should we live? Jesus tells us still today that to look to him is to find answers to all these questions and more.
The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the Word by whom the whole world was made (Jn 1:3) and that he is the way, the truth, and the life. To refuse to follow him is to continue to walk in some kind of darkness, groping for answers, even if the questions are unexpressed. To follow him is to see what is ahead, immediately, and eternally into the future. Christ shows us that the world was fallen and that God has a plan to save it. He shows us that we ourselves are in need of salvation and that he died on the cross to redeem us and forgive us, reconciling us to the Father. Christ shows us the nature of the holiness and love of God, the wrath for sin combined with the mercy of forgiveness, and justice of God with the forgiveness of God for us.
And this light of life shows how to walk in him until he returns, loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves, even loving our enemies. The light shows us how to die to ourselves that we might live true life abundantly in him forever and ever.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of John 8:12
#1 “When Jesus spoke again to the people,”
The preceding chapters of John show much of the common conversation and teaching between Jesus, his disciples, the crowds who were curious about him, and his usual enemies, the religious establishment who envied his following and rejected his claims. Here he is again discoursing on eternal truths.
#2 “he said, ‘I am the light of the world.”
John began his gospel with this theme and continues to develop it. John 1:4-5 says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” And then in John 1:9 says, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” There is a distinct relationship between light and truth. Jesus would show the reality of what is. He would bring understanding of the Father, his ways, and of the future to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear.
#3 “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
It follows that if one recognizes Jesus as the light of the world and follows him, he or she will always have the light. He promised that he and his salvation would not be taken away from those who come to him. He will not lose any that the Father gives to him (Jn 6:39).
What does John 8:12 mean?
Seven times in the gospel of John, Jesus makes a powerful statement beginning with the phrase “I am.” These comments echo the words of God to Moses in Exodus 3:14. There, when Moses asks who he should say has sent him to Israel, God tells Moses to tell the people “I AM WHO I AM…Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” This phrase implies the simplest expression of God’s nature: He just is, He must be. When Jesus uses this phrasing, He is deliberately invoking that same essence.
This is the second of John’s seven “I AM” statements. The first came when Jesus was preaching to the crowd in Capernaum, the morning after feeding thousands with a small boy’s lunch (John 6:35). Later in this same chapter Jesus will use a slightly different version of this idea—not part of the primary seven “I AM” statements—resulting in rage from the Pharisees.
This incident occurs during the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. Jesus has already used festival rituals as analogies for His role as Messiah (John 7:37–38). As part of this major festival, lamps would be lit using wicks made from priestly garments. In addition, light was a powerful metaphor in Hebrew thinking (Psalm 84:11; Malachi 4:2). “Light,” for the Jewish person, was the ultimate ideal, a representation of salvation, knowledge, and goodness. For Jesus to claim to be the “light of the world” was no small thing. In fact, it is a claim to equality with God. Even further, the Greek of this passage indicates Jesus’ claim to be “the” light, not merely “a” light. In the text’s original Greek, Christ says “Egō eimi to phos tou kosmou,” which explicitly claims He is the single, solitary source of “light.”
Those who follow Christ, in truth, may stumble into darkness, but they will never perpetually “walk” in it (John 12:46; Psalm 36:9).
John 8:12–30 includes the second of Jesus’ seven ”I AM” statements, as recorded in the gospel of John. Jesus’ reference to light was probably playing off of a ritual performed during the Feast of Booths, where lamps would be lit using wicks made from the robes of priests. This continues the dialogue of chapter 7, picking up where John 7:52 left off. The exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees will escalate, in part showing that Jesus was not afraid to directly castigate those who misled the people.
John chapter 8 includes the story of the adulterous woman, a well-known but controversial passage. Most scholars believe this story is authentic, but not originally found in this exact spot in Scripture. This chapter continues Jesus’ preaching during the Feast of Booths, where He once again comes into conflict with local religious leaders. Here, Christ will make His second ”I AM” statement, using the analogy of light, which is a common theme in Hebrew theology. This conversation will become more and more heated. Eventually, Jesus’ opponents are enraged enough to attempt killing Him right then and there.
What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12)?
“I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12) is the second of seven “I AM” declarations of Jesus, recorded only in John’s gospel, that point to His unique divine identity and purpose. In declaring Himself to be the Light of the world, Jesus was claiming that He is the exclusive source of spiritual light. No other source of spiritual truth is available to mankind.
There are two types of light in the world. We can perceive one, or both, or neither! When we are born into this world, we perceive physical light, and by it we learn of our Creator’s handiwork in the things we see. However, although that light is good, there is another Light, a Light so important that the Son of God had to come in order to both declare and impart it to men. John 8:12 records, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.’” The allegory used by the Lord in this verse speaks of the light of His Truth, the light of His Word, the light of eternal Life. Those who perceive the true Light will never walk in spiritual darkness.
We take a candle into a room to dispel the darkness. Likewise, the Light of Jesus Christ has to be taken into the darkness of sin that engulfs the hearts and lives of those who are not following Him. That’s the condition behind having this Light—that we follow Him. If we do not follow Him, we will not have this light, this truth, this eternal life.
Physical light is necessary for physical life. The earth would certainly change very rapidly if there were no longer any sunlight. A forest full of trees with very thick canopies of foliage high above has very little plant life on the ground except for moss or lichen, which needs little sunlight. Plants will never move away from the light—they are said to be positively phototropic, drawn to the light. In the same way, spiritual light is necessary for spiritual life, and this can be a good test of our standing in Christ. The believer will always tend toward spiritual things; he will always tend toward fellowship, prayer, the Word of God, and so on. The unbeliever always does the opposite (John 1:5; 3:19–20) because light exposes his evil, and he hates the light. Indeed, no man can come into the true spiritual light of Jesus Christ, unless he is enabled (John 6:37).
Following Jesus is the condition of two promises in John 8:12. First, His followers will never walk in darkness, which is a reference to the assurance of salvation we enjoy. As true followers of the Light, we will never follow the ways of sin, never live in a state of continually sinning (1 John 1:5–7). Rather, we repent of our sin in order to stay close to the Light of the world. The second promise is that we will reflect the Light of Life. Just as He came as the Light of the world, He commands us to be “lights,” too. In Matthew 5:14–16 we see believers depicted as the light of the world. Just as the moon has no light of its own, reflecting the light of the sun, so are believers to reflect the Light of Christ so that all can see it in us. The Light is evident to others by the good deeds we do in faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The emphasis here is maintaining a credible and obvious witness in the world, a witness that shows us to be faithful, God-honoring, trustworthy, sincere, earnest, and honest in all that we do. Also, we should always be ready to give an account of the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15), for the gospel Light we have is not to be covered, but made obvious for all to see and benefit from, that they, too, may leave the darkness and come into the Light.
God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ by Stephen WellumMore insights from your Bible study – Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!
What does it mean that the light shines in the darkness (John 1:5)?Why did God say, “Let there be light,” during creation?What does it mean to walk in the light?What does it mean that God is light?What are the seven I AM statements in the Gospel of John?