John 8:12 JESUS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
In this text Jesus was teaching in the temple courtyard
at Jerusalem following The Feast of The Tabernacles. This
was apparently on the same day on which the scribes and
Pharisees had brought to Him a woman who had been caught in
the act of adultery. The scribes and Pharisees tried to use
the woman to entrap Jesus and get Him to say something that
they could use to accuse Him to either the Sanhedrin Council
or to the Roman authorities. Jesus avoided their trap. He
told the accusers that if they wanted her stoned they would
have to make the decision. He said, however, that they
should make sure that the one who threw the first stone was
without sin. Nobody threw a stone. They all walked away.
Jesus told the woman to go her way and to sin no more.
It now appears to me that all of this must have taken
place on the very next day after the Feast of Tabernacles
closed out. If so, this would explain why Jesus has not yet
left Jerusalem. The Feast of The Tabernacles lasted seven
days and the day which followed was always a special sabbath
day. Jesus would most certainly want to stay for this
special sabbath day.
At any rate a new incident now takes place in this text.
He had been teaching a great crowd of people when the
scribes and Pharisees brought the woman. Now that the
Pharisees have left, He continues to teach the crowd of
people. He makes a statement proclaiming Himself to be the
Light of the world.
I. The declaration made by Jesus to the people
V. 12, "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am
the light of the world..." This was something that John,
the writer of this book, has already informed his readers
about. Back in John chapter one John first proclaimed Jesus
to be the Word. He said that the Word was with God in the
beginning. That is, He was with God the Father and God the
Holy Spirit. He was with them in the beginning.
Furthermore, John said that the Word was God. The Word,
who was with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit was just
as much God as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. This
made three who were God. These three made up the Trinity in
the God-head. They were the three distinct persons or
characters in the God-head who made up the one God. They
did not make three Gods. They made up one God-head. There
are three in the Godhead. Yet there is but one God.
John also said that the Word is the Creator. He said
that all things were made by Him and without Him was not
anything made that was made. All of the God-head were
somehow involved in the creation, but technically, it was
the Word who spoke the worlds into existence. Then John
said that the Word is the Light of men. He called Him the
Finally, down in verse 14 of chapter one, John said that
the Word was made flesh and dwelt among men. He was talking
about Jesus. So John has already informed the readers of
this Book that Jesus is the Light of men; He is the Light of
the world. But in our text Jesus declares to the Jewish
people who were present in that temple at that time that He
is the Light of the world. This was a glorious revelation
II. Preparation for this revelation
Preparation for this revelation to those people had
actually begun about two months prior to the Feast of
Tabernacles. In the Jewish synagogues throughout the land
and in foreign countries, the Jewish people were reminded of
Old Testament prophecies about the coming Christ. They read
and re-read prophecies which declared Him to be the Light of
men. Some of the prophecies said that He would be a Light
to the nation of Israel. Some of the prophecies said that
He would be a Light to the Gentiles. When you combine those
prophecies they declare Him to be the Light of the whole
world. He is the Light to all people of the world.
Another part of the preparation for this revelation to
the people there in the temple took place in the week of the
celebration of The Feast of The Tabernacles. At the close
of the first day of the feast the whole congregation of
people were led to the Court of Women which was within the
temple grounds. Not everybody could get in that one
courtyard, but the others gathered nearby on the outside.
Four huge candelabra had been erected in the courtyard of
women. They were so huge that they were more like vats.
Each candelabra was filled with oil and contained a huge
wick. These candelabra stood so high in the air that it was
necessary to climb ladders to light them. About dusk dark
at the close of the first day these candelabra were
Remember that the temple, itself, was built on top of
Mt. Zion and these four lighted candelabra stood even higher
up into the air. It was said by historians that they gave
light to the whole city of Jerusalem throughout the night.
Each day they were re-filled with oil and the wicks trimmed
or replaced. Each night throughout the week of celebration
these lights did shine.
In a very vivid way these giant candles symbolized the
meaning of the Old Testament Scriptures which proclaimed the
Christ to be the Light of men. Since the light of the
candles did light up the whole city of Jerusalem, it was
easy to see that they symbolized the Light of the Christ
shining to the whole city of Jerusalem. But note that
since all of the able bodied men of the whole nation were
required to be present in Jerusalem for this occasion, those
lights actually pictured the Light of the Christ shining to
the whole nation of Israel. Furthermore, since the nation
of Israel was God's representative to the Gentiles, the
candles, in effect symbolized the Christ shining to all of
the Gentile nations through Israel.
III. The effect of this revelation on the people
These things the people who heard Jesus should have
already understood. There was a minority number of them who
already understood one very important thing more. They
understood that Jesus is the Christ. Even during this week
of the feast, there were many who had become convinced that
Jesus is the Christ. But now Jesus spells it out to them in
a way that they should be able to see the connection with
the Old Testament prophecies. Jesus said that He is the
Light of men. He is, of course the Light to Israel. He was
born through the nation of Israel and He came to the nation
of Israel. But He is more than a Light to Israel; He is
the Light of the world. He is a Spiritual Light to the
This revelation should be understood in keeping with
other symbolic terms used in Scripture. He is the Living
Word of God. He is the Lamb of God. He is the Water of
Life. He is the Bread of Life. He is the Light of the
This statement which Jesus made declaring Himself to be
the Light of the World should not only enable all who
already accepted Him as the Christ to have a better
understanding of His Messiahship, but it should have enabled
many others in that crowd to see that He is the very Christ
IV. Some important things about this text
I want to show you some other things about the Christ as
is dealt with in this text and then I want to show you some
other things pictured about Jesus by the candelabra.
One thing I want to point out to you is the gospel
message involved in the declaration which Jesus made. I
want to look back to chapter one. John 1:5 reads, "And the
Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it
not." What this verse is saying is that Jesus, as the Light
of the world is shining into the darknesses of the world.
This is a sinful world and is full of sinners who would be
doomed and damned to everlasting suffering except for one
thing. There is a Light which shines to lost men, women,
boys and girls. There is a Savior whom God has sent to the
world. That Light is Jesus. That Savior is Jesus. If lost
sinners will look to Jesus by faith they will be saved.
John 1:10-12 says, "He was in the world and the world was
made by Him and the world knew Him not. He came unto His
own and His own received Him not. But as many as received
Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to
them that believe on His name." This text teaches that if
any lost sinner will trust in Jesus for salvation, he will
(V. 12), "...he that followeth me shall not walk in
darkness, but shall have the light of life." Jesus says,
"he that followeth me." Who is He talking about? He is
talking about the one who believes in Him as the Christ and
trusts in Him as his Savior. He is talking about one who
has trusted Him for salvation and is saved. That is the
kind of person who follows Him. Jesus said that this kind
of person shall not walk in darkness.
This means so many different things that I will not have
time to deal with them all in this message. But one thing I
want to stress. It means that there will be a change in his
life. He will still continue to sin because he still lives
in a sinful body, but there will be a change in his inner
spirit man and there will be a change in his lifestyle. He
will no longer walk in darkness. He will walk in the Light
of Jesus Christ. The believer will begin to live his life
as he is guided by the Light.
It also means that he will not live a life of defeat and
despair, but he his life will be filled with hope in spite
of the many hardships that he faces in life. He will be
hopeful and joyful in spite of the trials which he suffers.
There is light in his soul. There is light in his life.
There is a song in his soul. There is joy in the Lord.
V. Some other things pictured by the candelabra
The candelabra picture the very event that was taking
place at that very moment there in the temple. The light of
the giant candles pictures the Christ present in the
courtyard of the temple giving out His Light to the people.
He was there, right there before them teaching them the
truths of God.
It also pictures what would take place on Calvary's hill
about six months later. The candelabra had been lifted up
high so that their light would shine forth to all. Even so
the Christ would be lifted up. Jesus told Nicodemus back in
chapter 3, verse 14, "...as Moses lifted up the serpent in
the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up."
He was talking about Himself being lifted up on the cross.
As the brazen serpent in the wilderness was lifted up even
so the Christ would be lifted up and put on a pole. Even as
the candelabra were lifted up so that their light would
shine, even so the Christ must be lifted up so that His
Light would shine to all the world.
But there is more. In the heaven ages, after this earth
and the heavens above have been melted with fervent heat and
God has brought forth a new heaven and a new earth, the Holy
City New Jerusalem will come down to this new earth and the
throne of God will be in the Temple of God there in that
city. Revelation 21:23-25 read, "And the city had no need
of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the
glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light
thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk
in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring
their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall
not be shut at all buy the day: for there shall be no night
there." The Christ of God, who is the Living Word of God,
who is the Creator of the world, who is the Bread of Life,
who is the Water of Life, who is the Lamb of God, who is the
Light of the World, will cause His Light to shine forth from
the temple of God in the Holy City New Jerusalem and will
light up the whole New Jerusalem and the whole new earth.
There will be one great difference. There will be no
darkness there. There will be no night there.
But the main thing I am interested in you understanding
this morning is what Jesus can do for you, as the Savior.
He can save your soul and take you to heaven when you die.
He can change your life and give you life on this earth that
is worthwhile. He can turn your life around and help you to
live a cleaner, more godly life.
It would be a great catastrophe if there were no light
for this world. It would be an ever greater catastrophe if
there were no spiritual Light. It would be a catastrophe
for you to try to live your life without Christ.