One night a few years ago I pulled up outside my friend’s home and beeped my horn to give her a lift. To my surprise, my car door opened, and a stranger hopped in my car. I am not sure who was more surprised – me or them! Apologies and giggles were exchanged and a few moments later my friend got in my car with no idea what had happened. With the street cloaked in darkness it was hard for the neighbour to see whose car had pulled up in the street.
Light and darkness are common themes throughout the Bible. Light being the ultimate symbol of salvation, goodness and knowledge to the Jew.
“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.’”
When Jesus said these words recorded in John 8:12, God’s people, the Jews, would have been celebrating the ‘Feast of the Tabernacle’: celebrating God’s provision of light to the Israelites in Egypt (Exodus 13:11). During the week that followed the feast, the temple court and all of the city was flood lit by four huge golden candelabras. The light reminded them of the visible presence of God in the temple and how he brings light to the spiritually dead.
In this verse from John, Jesus’ hearers knew Jesus was actually saying “I AM GOD” and that he alone is the light to follow to know the way to live. His claim to be ‘the light’ is saying He is the saving truth and the source of light in the world. The light is not simply with Jesus, the light is Jesus – the source of light. This is not just for the Jew, but for all people.
To live without Jesus is to live in darkness. Jesus describes those living in darkness as lost and far from God, where in contrast, those living in the light of Christ are chosen, set apart and belonging to God.
It’s true that everyone is worshipping something. Christians choose to worship Jesus and have stepped into His light. We see clearly who Jesus is and unlike my friend’s neighbour, we can be certain that we walk in light in this life and into life eternal with Him.