Focal Passage: John 8:12-19
In 2013 a buddy and I decided to make a cross country ride on our motorcycles. We left North Carolina and went to California primarily by way of I-20. When we were going through Texas, however, we decided to get off the interstate and take back roads to New Mexico.
About 50 miles from our hotel, the headlight fuse blew on my buddy’s motorcycle. So we pulled off the road in a store parking lot and began the repair.
By the time we were finished, darkness had settled in to west Texas. As we headed toward our destination, our headlights helped beat back the west Texas darkness.
Indeed, every direction we looked was cloaked in darkness, except one. The lights of the west Texas town we were headed toward blazed against the horizon, though they were nearly 50 miles away.
On that night in west Texas, I was reminded of Jesus’ words in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.”
Jesus spoke those words standing in women’s court of the temple (John 8:20). It was also the site of another significant event, held during the Feast of Tabernacles, called “the illumination of the Temple.” In that ceremony, incredibly large menorahs (approx. 75 ft high) were lit in the Temple at night, reminding the people of how God led Israel through the desert. It was said that the light from Temple could be seen from anywhere in the city.
It is in that context that Jesus declares that He is the light of the world. Just as the pillar of fire illumined the dark desert for the children of Israel, Jesus himself illumines a world darkened by sin. And, only by faith in Jesus – the light of the world – can we walk in the light. That lonely night in west Texas, I was grateful for the light emanating from a town down the road. But, I am far more thankful for the light of the world, who gives me light. Light to see not only my sin, but the salvation God has provided in Jesus.