The Light of the World

This week we are dwelling in the Word and exploring the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus. Today’s reading is John 8:12, where Jesus declares that he is the Light of the World.

John begins his Gospel by saying of Jesus, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:9). But what does it mean that Jesus is our light?

Jesus made this claim this during a Jewish Celebration called the Festival of Tabernacles or Booths (see John 7:2 and 7:14). During this time, the Israelites would live in temporary shelters (like tents) to remember the days when Israel wandered through the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land. It was a time to remember how God faithfully provided them with everything they needed—like the pillar of fire that lit up the night sky and showed them the way to go.

In Jesus’ time, part of this festival involved lighting four huge menorahs in the Temple courts in order to provide light for the religious festivities. In Jewish thought, darkness represented chaos and evil, while light represented order and good. When Jesus says that he is the light of the world, he’s drawing on this imagery of a bright light breaking through the darkness of chaos and evil.

Life to the full means walking in the light of Christ, who guides us, sustains us, and illuminates our path. We no longer have to live in fear because the light of Jesus brings hope and joy to our hearts.