In John 8:12 the Bible says, "Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." In regards to spiritual things, there is darkness and there is light. Jesus boldly proclaimed that He is the light of the world. Itís a dangerous thing to walk in darkness. If you walk in darkness, you might fall into a pit. Saul of Tarsus once walked in darkness, and because of his darkness he persecuted those who believed in Jesus: in other words he opposed the work of God even though he was involved in a religious organization. He was a Pharisee. You can be involved in religion and still be in darkness, just like Saul of Tarsus. But one day, when Saul was on the road to Damascus; he had the one experience that a human can have that will take away the darkness. He came in contact with Jesus. He saw the light. He started following Jesus and that made him pass from darkness into light.
There is a lot of darkness in this world. Without light you will be swallowed up by the darkness, and you will be led to your own destruction. What Jesus told us about Himself is a wonderful promise that in spite of the darkness, there will always be light that you can count on. There may be darkness all around you, but you can still walk in the light because Jesus is the Light of the World.
Notice that Jesus called it "the light of life." In other words, itís the light that gives life: the light that results in life, in spiritual life. In the natural world, there is no life possible on the earth without the light of the sun. And in the spiritual world, there is no spiritual life possible without the light of the Son of God.
The way to obtain spiritual light from Jesus is also given in John 8:12. Jesus said, "He that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." In order to avoid darkness, we must follow Jesus because He is the only One who can give light. To follow Jesus implies surrendering to Him. In other words, you are going His way instead of your own way. You are saying to God from the depths of your heart, "Not my will but thine be done." If you follow Jesus, it also means that you are trying to live by the teachings that Jesus gave. Jesus taught us through the Sermon on the Mount and all of the other things in the gospels how to live by faith in this world. We follow Jesus by reading His teachings and then applying them to our lives.
Jesus said, "He that follows me shall not walk in darkness." That speaks of continuous action. Itís not a one-time thing. It does have a starting point but then it continues. In John Chapter 3 Jesus described the starting point as the new birth. A human being should come to Jesus for forgiveness of sins, begin following Him, and then keep on following Him. There is no other option. You must do that or you will walk in darkness.
Jesus gives a great promise for those who follow Him. A wise person will want to know the right way to go in life. A wise person will want to know what to do when faced with a decision. Wouldnít you like to have the best counselor possible to advise you on critical decisions? Jesus said that He is the Light of the world. When Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah to come, Isaiah said that the Messiah would be called "Wonderful Counsellor."
After Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Light of the world, the Jewish leaders were not at all happy. Most of the rest of John Chapter 8 is a long-running conversation, a debate, between Jesus and the unbelieving Jewish leaders. Jesus would be opposed, attacked, and argued with. The same kind of opposition to Jesus still exists, because the darkness does not understand the light and does not come to the light. The darkness does not want the light to shine upon their evil deeds.
In John 8:13-16 the Bible says, "The Pharisees therefore said unto him, You bear record of yourself: your record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know from where I came, and where I go; but you cannot tell from where I come, and where I go. You judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." The Pharisees were in darkness, but that was not their only problem. Another reason that they made the wrong decision about Jesus was that they judged after the flesh. In the Bible the term "flesh" refers to the basic human existence without the Spirit of God. Someone who judges after the flesh, is someone who evaluates things purely from a human viewpoint without the knowledge of or the consideration of spiritual things. Many of the wrong decisions made by humans in this life are because they are not in tune with the Spirit of God, and all that they have is the flesh by which to evaluate things. They judge after the flesh.
Jesus said about Himself, "I judge no man." Thatís because when Jesus came the first time, He did not come as a judge. He came as the Lamb of God to die for the sins of the world. He did not come to destroy life, but to save it. And Jesus did not come to condemn, but to forgive. This is what Jesus likes to say to sinners: "Your sins are forgiven you." But the day will come when Jesus will be the judge, and that is why He said, "And yet if I judge, my judgment is true." Itís much better to take the forgiveness that Jesus offers now than to fall under His eventual judgment.
Jesus said in John 8:17-18, "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bears witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me." Jesus is the only one who has kept the law completely in all points, and therefore it was easy for Him to use the law to prove that He was justified. If any of us tried to use the law to justify ourselves, we would be condemned because we have all sinned, but not Jesus. The Pharisees made a big mistake when they thought that they could use the law to condemn and criticize Jesus. Their strategy would have worked with anyone else, but not with Him.
The Bible says in John 8:19, "Then said they to Him, Where is your Father? Jesus answered, You neither know me nor my Father: if you had known me, you should have known my Father also." This was true 2,000 years ago and itís still true. In order to know the Father, you must know the Son. You might be able to explore some kind of remote belief in the existence of God through various means, but you can only know the Father by knowing the Son. The Pharisees did not know the Father or the Son. By rejecting the Son, they also rejected the Father who sent the Son.
John 8:20-24 says, "These words spoke Jesus in the treasury, as He taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come. Then said Jesus again to them, I go my way, and you shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: where I go, you cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will He kill himself? because He said, where I go, you cannot come. And He said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above: You are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins."
It sounds like Jesus is giving the Pharisees a warning. He is giving them a warning because He cares about them. He hopes that they will wake up before itís too late. Jesus says to them three times, "You will die in your sins." The worse thing that can happen to any human being is to die in their sins. If you die in your sins, it means that when you die you are still connected to your sins: the guilt and condemnation of your sins are still a part of you and your eternal destiny will be determined by it. In contrast to being in your sins, some people are no longer in their sins. They have received forgiveness. The word ďforgive" means to separate from. If you are forgiven, then you are separated from your sins. Since no one knows when they will die, the question is: If you died today, would you die in your sins? Jesus told the Pharisees that they were in danger of dying in their sins.
Jesus told us in John 8:24 what would cause a person to die in their sins. He said, "If you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins." Everyone in the world, whether Jew or Gentile, who fails to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, will die in their sins. "To believe" means to trust, to depend upon, and to commit oneself to.
John 8:25-26 says, "Then said they to Him, Who are you? And Jesus said to them, Even the same that I said to you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him." If you want to follow God, then this last phrase that Jesus spoke in John 8:26 is one of the principles by which you should also live. Jesus said, "I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him." One of the great purposes of life is to learn what is true, and then to tell others what you have learned. Thatís what Jesus did. To do anything less is to fail God, and to fail mankind.
John 8:27-30 says, "They understood not that He spoke to them of the Father. Then said Jesus to them, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself: but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him. As He spoke these words many believed on Him."
We believe the words of Jesus. The words have gotten through to us and we believe. Itís the words of Jesus that make the difference. Without His words, we would have very little to believe. Those who oppose God, will eventually oppose His words. And those who fail to serve God will always fail in regards to His great words. Start neglecting the words, and your spiritual problems will follow. If you have spiritual needs or if your faith needs to be strengthened, then just give more attention to His words. Itís not surprising that many who listened to the words of Jesus became believers.
Notice also that the Words of Jesus were reinforced by His actions. Jesus said, "I do always those things that please the Father." What a contrast to the rest of us. If we are very good, and very wise, and very strong, the best that we can do is sometimes please the Father; and even then we are totally dependent upon the mercy and grace of God, but Jesus always did the things that please the Father.
Jesus said, "He that sent me is with me; the Father has not left me alone." In spite of the constant opposition that Jesus had, and the threats to His life; and in spite of the fact that He was coming ever closer to His horrible death on the cross: He did not suffer the agony of loneliness, at least not until He was on the cross and took our sins upon Himself. Jesus had the comfort of His spiritual relationship with the Father. It is Godís will that we have the same kind of comfort in our journey through this world. He told the disciples that He would not leave them comfortless. Paul spoke to the Athenians and spoke of the God in whom we live and move and have our being. If God is everywhere-present, itís only our awareness of His presence that is lacking. If we believe, we need more practice at being mindful of the presence of God with us. We need to be more like Jesus and be able to say in any situation, "I am not alone, because the Father is with me."
In John 8:31 the Bible says, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed." The invitation to believe in Jesus and follow Jesus is always a life-long call. True belief has a quality to it whereby it begins and then it keeps on going. When a person makes a decision to follow Jesus, itís supposed to be a lifelong decision and a life-changing decision. When Jesus calls you, He calls you to dedicate yourself and give totally of yourself. If you are going to finish this journey, you must not start it with any reservations, and you must hold nothing back or you are doomed to fail.
In John 8:32-34 Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered Him, We are Abrahamís seed, and were never in bondage to any man: why do you say, You shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin." The problem that the human race has is the sin problem. Jesus said that humans are slaves to sin, and that the answer for them was to be set free. Why do humans do what they do? One of the reasons that humans do what they do is because humans are sinners. Sinners will sin. It can be no other way. And those that are slaves to sin will sin even more. Can a leopard change its spots?
Not only did Jesus recognize the problem, He also has the solution to the problem of sin. Psychiatrists might be able to help some people with some problems, but they canít solve the sin problem. The government might be able to pass some laws to rectify some of the injustices of our society, but they canít solve the sin problem either. As a matter of fact, unless more people find the truth and become freed from their sins, the society will get worse no matter what the government does.
Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." In all of the conditions of mankind throughout the centuries, there may be nothing worse than to be a slave, and there may be no greater evidence of the sinfulness of man than the fact that one human would enslave another. But if you are still a slave to your sins, then you are in a worse kind of slavery than anyone who has ever been a slave to another human. Three times in John Chapter 8 Jesus gave a warning about dying in your sins. But He also gave a promise of freedom from the guilt and condemnation of sin. Which do you prefer: to be a slave to sin and then to die in your sins, or to be set free from your sins by Jesus?
Copyright; 2000 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved