I am the Light of the World- Part 2

John MacAthur comments on John 8:12

     But you say, “Why does Jesus particularly choose this metaphor?  Why would He just walk in the temple treasury, why wouldn’t He say…I am better than wealth…or…I am the true priceless one?  Or why wouldn’t He use something that would apply to the temple treasury?”  He did.  When He said “I am the light of the world” He said the most devastating dramatic thing, it’s just unbelievable and I want to show you.  And it took a long time to dig it out but it’s there.  Do you remember back in chapter 7…no you don’t but I’ll tell you…in chapter 7…verse 37 Jesus said, “If any man thirsts let him come unto Me and drink.”  Remember that…please?  Okay.  Well, you know that He said that not just…He didn’t just walk into a group of people sitting around and say, “If any man thirsts come unto Me and drink,” they would have said…what?  He said that at the very split second during the feast of the tabernacles when they had started the ceremony to commemorate, remember when Moses struck the rock and provided water?  And the people in the feast of tabernacles were commemorating that by this ritual where the priest would pour water.  And at the very moment that that was going on, that ritual was going on, and that priest was pouring that water, it was then that Jesus said, “If any man thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink.”  See, strategic dynamic…dramatic.  He grabbed that ritual of the water, turned it around and focused it on Himself.

Now here He’s doing the very same thing and I want you to see it, it is really exciting. He is doing the very same thing.  Now the feast of tabernacles had just concluded.  Here come some important data.  The feast of tabernacles had just concluded.  It was seven days long.  It was a yearly thing and it was to commemorate the wandering of Israel in the wilderness.  Remember the 40 years they wandered?  This was a commemoration feast of that to keep them to remember that God had blessed them during those 40 years. 

 At this feast there were several very important rituals.  We already saw one, that was the pouring of the water when all of them had their bows and everything over the altar, and all that, we went through that before.  And there Jesus said, “If any man thirst, come to Me.”  He grabbed that ritual and turned it to Himself.  The second ritual, very important ritual during this week was called the illumination of the temple ritual.  Now this is what’s going on here in Jesus’ mind, and I’ll show you what I mean. 


     In the evening this ritual took place and the illumination of the temple ritual was to commemorate, mark it, the light in the wilderness that had led Israel.  Now you remember that during the day they were led by a light that looked like a cloud.  And at night they were led by…what?…a pillar of fire, flaming light in the sky.  They had been led by light in the daytime, the light as like a cloud moving through the sky.  They were led at night by a flaming light, the pillar of fire.  And to commemorate the light that led them, they had this ceremony called the illumination of the temple which commemorated the light that led Israel in the Old Testament.  Now you can see we’re beginning to zero in on this light concept.


     Now watch what happened.  They had this ceremony, you’ll never believe where they had it…they had it in the Court of the Women, see, that’s why Jesus is there.  That’s why He went there to say, “I’m the light of the world.”  I’ll show you.  In the middle of the Court of the Women they erected giant candelabras, gigantic massive things with a multiplicity of lights that reflected up.  And at night, in the evening, they would light all those candelabras and that light would just stream out of the top of that courtyard and flood the city of Jerusalem.  In fact, the rabbis used to say that every courtyard in Jerusalem was lit all night, like a brilliant diamond flashing its light over the entire city of Jerusalem, the light just came pouring out of the top of that temple courtyard in the Court of the Women they did it.  And they actually had places where people could sit around it.  At the same time it was the noisiest celebration of the feast cause everybody sang and they sang certain Psalms and they had certain dancing that they did and all this noise went on all night long while this light kept burning.  And that light was to commemorate the light in the wilderness.


     feast of tabernaclesNow just…now that you have it in your mind, has it become reasonable to see what Jesus was doing?  He walks into the Court of the Women and the light is long out cause the feast ended the day before, but sitting in the middle of that place is this gigantic candelabra.  Jesus steps into the middle of this courtyard where there’s nothing on their minds perhaps any more significant than seeing this candelabra and remembering the great illumination of Jerusalem.  And they walk in there and they see that candelabra and Jesus steps up beside that candelabra and undoubtedly with some gesture says, “I am the light of the world.”  What a dramatic statement.  For in their minds they would be remembering a light in Jerusalem that commemorated a light that led Israel.  But Jesus says, “Yes, you remember the light last night in the temple here which made you remember the light that led Israel…I am the light of the world.”  Now do you see the significance of that statement?  Talk about dramatics, Jesus was the master.  He took that scene and made it so dynamic and so dramatic, He must have stunned them.  You saw a light that lit Jerusalem, you celebrate a light that lit the wilderness, I am the light of the world.  What a statement.


     Then He says an interesting thing, He says, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness but shall of the light of life.”


     You know, some lights don’t go anywhere.  Did you know that?  They just hang there, most lights.  You don’t say…follow the light.  Well, how do you follow the light, it’s just there?  There was one light that moved, it wasn’t the light in the temple that commemorated it but it was the light in Israel, wasn’t it, in the wilderness.  Did it move?  It moved every night and it moved every day, didn’t it?  And what did they do?  They followed it, didn’t they?  Jesus says you’re remembering that light that moved Israel around, follow Me…follow Me, I’m a light that’s moving, too.  You know, when you follow Jesus Christ you don’t sit around.  “I’m following You, Lord.”  See and sit there.  You don’t do that.  This light moves.  You better be ready to move.  And you better be ready to go where that light takes you.  And if you follow Him you’ll never walk in darkness…never walk in darkness, just follow the light.

4 thoughts on “I am the Light of the World- Part 2

  1. God is light. In Him there is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5) In fact, the very first creation that God recognized as “good” was the creation of light. (Genesis 1:4) Keeping this in mind, it would only make sense that the children of God (those that, by the spiritual birth of regeneration through faith in Christ Jesus, have become partakers of God’s divine nature) would be children of light.

    Following this reasoning, children of light would have a desire to walk in the light, and to tend toward performing daytime, rather than nighttime, activities. Children of light should be sober, for the favored time of drunkenness is nighttime. Children of light should be properly dressed, for daytime is the time for getting dressed, and nighttime is the time for getting undressed. Children of light are to flee from the temptations of immorality and fornication, and these sins are most likely to occur in the dark.

    Furthermore, children of light should be awake and alert, watching and working, staying ready for the coming of the Lord, which could happen at any moment. Physical sleep is something that promotes growth and good health when done in proper balance, but spiritual sleep – for the sons and daughters of the Most High God – is to be avoided. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (I Thessalonians 5:6)

  2. I like what I read thus far and I have been doing some studying on his text, I thought when Jesus made his statement that he was the light of the world, one historian said it was at the beginning of the feast and not at the end as you have stated in this article just looking for some clarification. Thank You

  3. Excellent post! I’ll have to check out more on this site.

    Fred, I believe that the light festival took place every night of the Festival, just as the water bearing ceremony took place each morning. John 7:37 states that Jesus made the statement on the last day. I’m just not sure if that would be the seventh or “eighth day” of the Feast of Tabernacles, because the festival is described as a seven-day festival followed by a high day on the eighth day in Lev. 23:33-36.

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