Explanation of John 8:12

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world. The one following Me will I no way walk in darkness but have the light of life. John 8:12

I am the light of the world. What is light? It sounds like a silly question, but it is a very important question. 

Now you understand light physically. You know what physical light is – the sun comes up and you can see. You know that. But obviously Jesus does not mean that. He said, “I am the light of the world.” He is not talking about what He spoke about in John Chapter 9 when He said, “You see the light of this world. You stumble in the night”. In John 9 He did mean what you mean by physical light. “If anyone walks in the night he stumbles. But if he sees the light of this world he can walk.” In John 8:12, when Jesus said “I am the light of the world,” He didn’t at all mean what He said in John 9 where He was talking about physical light.

 In John 11:9 – “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble because he sees the light of the world.” He was talking about physical light there, wasn’t He? But in John 8:12 is He talking about physical light? No – He’s not. So what does He mean? How is He the light of the world? What does He mean by that? And remember – what is light anyway? What is light according to the Bible? Jesus also said, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst.” John 4:13.  Once again He is talking about physical water and some other water. Same as in this – he is talking about physical light and some other light. What does He mean in John 8:12 – How is Jesus the light of the world, and what is light in the Bible anyway? You can’t bring your idea of physical light and explain John 8:12 that way because it’s not physical light. But that is what you want to do. You want to bring your physical light and explain the verse that way. You can’t do that. How is Jesus the light of the world, and what is light in the Bible anyway? “Let there be light!” Genesis 1:3 – That is not physical light.

 What does He mean by – He is the light of the world? And what is light in the Bible? They are both real. There is the lower version, the one we have in this world, the physical. And there’s a higher. There’s a higher water, a higher light, a higher life. We are all tied up in the lower version here. But Jesus came to raise us up. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above not the things of the earth”. Colossians 3:1,2.  Now what is light in the Bible? You can’t take physical light and explain the Bible use of it. Now with water – water is everywhere and water gets into everything. Water is good for a lot of things. You have to drink it. You need it for agriculture. You need it to find fish. Light in the Bible is only good for one thing only – that is seeing. That is the only thing light is good for. It is almost equally true physically. What do you need light for? It is for seeing. What else is light good for even physically? Light is only good for seeing. That is always true. And water is good for many things. You need light to see and seeing is important. That is why Jesus gave sight to the blind because seeing is important. But faith is even more important.

Now, in the Bible, light is always good for one thing. And what it is – is the idea you have to have for light in the Bible – that light is knowing something through seeing. The opportunity to know something by sight, not by faith, but by sight. Knowing through seeing. What good is seeing something anyway? What good is seeing? Seeing is only good for knowing. “Seeing” itself doesn’t help you. It’s that you can know something by seeing. And knowing – finally knowing God is what’s important. The knowledge of God. But in the bible, light is for knowing something through seeing.

Now you are wondering, how should I live? But what you need to know in order to know how to live is – you need knowledge. And that comes through seeing in this verse. “I am the light of the world.” He is HOW you know – through seeing. Jesus is how I know through seeing. So what is it you need to know? You need to know the truth, you need to know God and you need to know how to walk – how to live. That is what you need. Knowledge how to live, knowledge of the truth, and this is how Jesus is the light of the world. Do you want to know God? Do you want to know the truth? Do you want to know how to live? You need light. You need Jesus as the light. He said, I am the light of the world. It is through Him that you know these things through seeing. Now what other verse explains this besides John 8:12? John chapter 1 – in the arche (arche is the Greek word for beginning, G-0476) was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. He was in the arche with God. All things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.“ “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. Therefore His life is the light. “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.” Jesus’ life is how you see. It is not through your eyes – it is through living His life. If you live His life, that is the light. So by living His life you will know all these other things. “Seek first His kingdom and all these things will be yours as well” Matthew 6:33.

 You think of light as “Oh I can see something and figure it out.“ But this light doesn’t work that way at all. This light is His life. “As He was in this world, so are we.” 1 John 4:17. You keep saying “it’s MY life.” That’s no good. You need to be living His life – then you will have light. Then you will be light for others. He said to his disciples “You are the lights of the world.” Matthew 5:14. That is what you are supposed to be. Then you’ve got to be living His life (when there is no light). “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12. He is the light of the world through His life. The life that He lived – that is the light that you need – right there. In Him was life and His life is the light. Not your eyes. Blind people can have the real light. If they live Jesus’ life they have real light. You need to connect John 8:12 to John 1:4. “ In Him was life and the life was the light of men”. The word, ‘men’, by the way, is close to the word for ‘world’. (in the original Greek). The real light is Jesus’ life. The light of this world – that’s nothing compared to the real light.

How should you live? You should live His life. That is what you are always thinking. How should I live? Your future. Do not labor for the light which perishes. Don’t be thinking of physical light. The real life is – Jesus is the light of the world, and He is talking about His life and that is how you know Him. You follow Him by living His life – or else you are not following Him at all. You need light to follow Him and His life is the light of men. It has nothing to do with figuring things out. To you, light helps you to figure things out in the world, but the real light is His life. And it is not a matter of figuring things out – it is obeying Him. The obedience out of faith. And therefore we walk not out of sight but out of faith. Faith is more important than light, although light is a good thing. You need the obedience out of faith, and living His life, and then you will be safe and not led astray.

 How is Jesus the light of the world? “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” “His life is the light of men.” John 8:12 and John 1:4. Put them together. John 8:12 is a very important verse. Don’t you need to follow Jesus? Didn’t He say many times “Follow Me?” Well you need light in order to follow. If you are blind you can’t follow anything physically. If you are blind spiritually, then you can’t follow Jesus out of your thinking. You need to live His life. And that is the light. You will have the light of life then. It is the only way, not through figuring it out. This is very simple. You might think it is complicated, but it is very simple.

Any questions? (Question: How do we connect it to John 3:21?) John 3:21 – “But the one doing the truth comes to the Light, that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God.” He who does what is true comes to the light- that means he comes to Jesus’ light. That is doing what is true. Jesus is the truth. And you can do the truth by living His life. It is a marvel that we can do that. He is the truth. He who does what is true, because His life is the light.

You have to live His life. How are you going to apply this lesson? How are you going to follow Jesus this way? By living HIS life and not my life in this world. That is what Paul said. I do not count my life of any value. But I press on toward the upward call. Philippians 3:13 14. Start discussing this and relating other verses about light.

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