The word ‘I’ we often use it don’t we, ‘I want’, ‘ I wonder’, ‘I think’. . We tend to use the word in a self centered way, referring to our own needs and wants. If we read our bible’s we’ll soon see that Jesus never talks about himself in a self centred way like most of us do. He never rambles on about himself. He never gossips about a conversation he was having with one of the disciples! He never gossips about other people or conversations he’s had with others.
As I said last week, when Jesus uses the word ‘I’. He uses it with a real purpose. He uses it to make a real statement about who he is and what he is about. There is something incredibly powerful when Jesus uses the word ‘I’. It is a word that carries real authority when it comes from the lips of God himself.
– Question: What did God call himself?
So you see, when the word ‘I’ is used by God it carries real weight or importance. And when Jesus uses the word ‘I’ about himself it reminds us that he is God and the jews of the day would have heard these claims and understood the significance of them better than we do. It reminds us that he is all powerful. And so we need to listen very carefully when Jesus uses the word ‘I’.
John Chapter 8 verse 12, on page 94, ‘ I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’.
And here Jesus is making a direct claim to be God, by using the word ‘I’ in this passage he is saying that he is the light that was referred to by the prophet Isaiah hundreds of years before. Isaiah 9 verse 2 ( p.581) ‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, those who lived in the land of deep darkness on them light has shined’, and what is this light? Well further on in that reading from Isaiah, verse 6, it tells us ‘For a child has been born to us, a son given to us, authority rests on his shoulders and he is named wonderful counsellor, mighty God, Everlasting father, prince of peace’. Can you see the link, Jesus makes a clear statement about who he is, He is the child that the prophet foretold, he is the one with the authority on his shoulders, the son that was given, Mighty God – the signs, the miracles all point to it, to prove it, but he also points to it, through fulfilling the prophecies. He is the light that shines in the darkness. That is why he says, ‘he is the light of the world’. but he does so in a clever way.
You see, if Jesus went round saying outright that he is the messiah, he would be put to death for blasphemy, instantly. (which is eventually, the charge that the High Priest laid against him) and people wouldn’t believe him, they would think he was a mad man. However, Jesus knew that he had to be careful in how he went about showing who he is, so that is why he constantly makes links and reference to the OT prophecies, so people, who knew their scripture could begin to work things out for themselves.
And that is still the case today. You see, Jesus/God, gives us free will.
Free will is all about us making the choice, and that includes the choice as to whether we believe or not. God will not force his way into your life, you have to allow that to happen. Its your choice! I wonder have begun to work out just who Jesus is? And have you accepted him as your saviour. If not why not allow him into your life, that would truly be the most amazing Lent and Easter anyone could ask for.
So what does Jesus mean by saying I am the light of the world.
At the very start of Johns Gospel in chapter 1 verse 4, we read John make it clear that Jesus is God, ‘life was in him and this life was the light of the human race’. Here is another reference to Jesus being the light of the world.
Verse 5, John goes on to speak about the light shining in the darkness and the darkness not being able to put it out.
Later on in the gospel we see the difference between good and evil being described in terms of goodness coming to the light and evil shunning it.
So what does Jesus mean by this statement. Well quite simply, lets do a little experiment.
Shine light into the congregation and talk about the importance of light.
Talk about the importance of light. Without light we can’t see where were going. We get lost. We depend on light for all sorts of things without actually realising it.
Could you imagine trying to get across an obstacle course in the dark, where there was no light to guide us. We couldn’t get across, we couldn’t finish the course because we couldn’t make our way through from the start to the finish.
And Jesus is saying that that is what it’s like for people who don’t follow him, people who don’t know him in their lives. Their life is in darkness. They go from one thing to another, and try to get through life without actually having the guide or the direction they need to help them in their life.
Yet when we have Jesus in our life, suddenly its like taking the blindfold off and having light flood into our life and we are able to see where we’re going. Jesus is the one who is able to lead us and guide us through lifes journey.
Jesus is saying that he’s a bit like a lighthouse. What does a lighthouse do? highlights where the danger spots are for the ships that are sailing in the dark..
And that is what Jesus does. He came into the world to be the light that shines in the darkness, in other words to light the path so we can see where we’re going, to show us how to live in a godly way, to show us how to have a relationship with God the father and to bring us back to him. You see, another reference to a light house, it enables a ship to find safe travel to port. And in a sense that is what Jesus does for us, through him, we are led with safe travel to our eternal destination.
But Jesus also came to shine into the darkness, into the dark areas of our life those areas which we would rather no-one knew about. Those areas which are perhaps shameful. The bits that no-one else sees. Jesus sees them, he knows. He is the light of the world that shines into the darkness. Let me try and explain, You know, when the sunlight bursts through the windows, and its at the perfect angle and brightness to highlight all the dust in the living room, the mucky fingers on the glass etc. So it is with Jesus, his perfect light highlights all the dirt in our life. And its there, visible and it needs dealing with. But the amazing thing is, he not only highlights it, but he offers to deal with it for us. He offers to cleanse us completely. To set us free. One of my favourite songs, which we have sung once here at an all age service says these words ‘into the darkness you shine, and out of the ashes we rise’. Yes he helps us to see our own sin in the darkness, but he also helps us to rise out of the pit, out of the mire, and he offers redemption.
He came to bring rescue, he came to bring salvation and he came to bring life, and he came to bring hope. To a people who had forgotten who God was, to a people who were wandering around in the dark.
And that wasn’t just for the people living then, its for you and me today, its still so apt for the world today. There are so many people who have no idea who Jesus is and why he came to this earth, there are so many people who are lost in the darkness of this world. It is for each one of us that Jesus came into the world to be the light that guides our way. To bring light into our lives. The question is will you allow Jesus to be the one who lights your life, who lights your path and will you let him lead and guide you on your journey with him?