In the Old Testament God is a God of light.
- appeared to Moses as a bright burning bush Exodus 3:2
- appeared to the Hebrews as fiery, cloudy pillar Exodus 13:21
- Shekinah light was seen in the temple 2 Chron 7:1
- Jewish teaching that the Messiah was "Light Mal 4:2
The commemoration of God’s presence and the hope of the Messiah Light to come was celebrated at the Feast of Lights.
During the festival four large candlesticks called Menorahs’ were lit in the Court of the Women in the Temple. Their light was seen all over Jerusalem. Jesus was in Jerusalem for this festival with his disciples. The incidents around Jesus’ statement that He is the light of the world help us to understand something of the kind of light.
1. A Penetrating Light
People hear that Jesus was teaching in the Temple and gather to listen to Him. The Pharisees arrive, dragging with them a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.
They used the woman to trap Jesus. If Jesus refused to condemn her they could accuse him of flouting Hebrew law. If he followed Hebrew law he would be breaking Roman law, where stoning was not permitted.
-the Pharisees were:
Astonished at being outwitted
Shocked at his discernment of their inner struggles
Angry at their own exposure
If the Pharisees had believed that Jesus didn’t want to use His knowledge of their hearts to destroy them but to save them, their lives could have been different.
2. The Transforming Light-the woman
Her extra-marital affair is exposed in the light of day. And her sin is put in the spotlight by the Pharisees.
The world loves to expose sin but exposure alone does not bring transformation.
The spotlight was on the woman but the light of Jesus’ purity, justice and grace shine brighter.
Everyone stares and points- Jesus looks away and writes in the sand.
Everyone abandons her - Jesus stays.
Everyone else saw this as an ending- Jesus gave her a new beginning.
Jesus didn’t declare her innocent condone sin or justify her actions but told her to put her sinful life behind.
3. The Undiminished LightThe Menorah lights commemorating the God’s presence and the hope of the Messiah’s return had just been extinguished. John 8:12 was an unmistakable claim to being the Messiah and that he had exclusive possession of ultimate truth.
Jesus enemies continually try to snuff out his influence through argument but couldn’t do it. They wanted to argue legalities, discuss theology but not believe. They wanted a legal battle, not a saving moment.
Jesus is a light that those in the dark were so determined to get rid of that they had him killed. As he died the sky turned black but resurrection brought new dawn. John 1 v 5 “The Life Light blazed out of the darkness and the darkness couldn’t put it out.” (The Message)
The condition for experiencing the full potential of His light in our lives is to follow him. John 8:12b “He who follows me will never walk in darkness.”
Following implies a commitment of our life to Him
Following the light implies a daily walk. See also Eph 5:8 & 1 John 1:7
Unlike the physical sun we do not need to protect ourselves against harmful rays. There is nothing in the Son that can harm us and we need to be more exposed to the light of Christ.