Scriptures

‘I AM’ The Light Of The World

Introduction

Jesus Christ! The great ‘I AM’ The significance of ‘I AM’

Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your Fathers has sent me to you’ and they ask me, ‘what is his name?’ ‘What shall I say to them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’. And he said, ‘Say to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ Exodus 3:13-14.

‘I AM EHYEH’ first singular present of TO BE. HAYAH denotes that God is personal, eternal, self-existent i.e. absolute being.

1. Eternal. Psalm 135:13

2. Self-existent. Psalm 88:6-7

Then God, having revealed to Moses some essential aspects of His (God’s) personality informs Moses of the name by which He (God) wants to be known. God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘YHWH the God of your fathers, has sent me to you, this is my name for ever and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.’ Exodus 3:75 / Psalm 135:13

YAHWEH plural form

Genesis 1:26, ‘Then God said, ‘Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness’.

The plural in the name YHWH, us and our, can in my opinion be regarded as an indication of the plurality of God’s nature and character, of which the Son and the Holy Spirit are part; three distinct persons who can act individually though never in disharmony and who are united in the godhead as one God. That the Spirit i.e. the force of God was there at creation is clear, ‘and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters’. Genesis 1:2

That through Jesus all came into being is stated in John 1:1-3 and John 1:18. It was through Jesus, i.e. God Himself Incarnate that redemption would be wrought.

The name YHWH meaning ‘the Becoming One’ is the ‘redemptive’ name of God and refers to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ who is in the bosom of the ‘Father’ God; Jesus who is part of the Godhead. When Jesus made Himself equal with God He was merely speaking the truth and had indeed every right to utter the words, ‘I AM’ in such a special way. The Jews understood perfectly well what was alluded to by the term I AM used by Jesus.

‘This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.’ John 5:18 / Leviticus 24:16

Now, remember the Bible doesn’t use names for God in the same way as we use names today. God doesn’t have a name as such but He uses certain words to describe His character or nature.

For example, the word El-Shaddai describes His nature as the all-sufficient One, the all-powerful One. The word Adonia describes His character as Lord, Master, the One with all authority. The word Yahweh describes His nature as the everlasting, self-existing One.

And so when God speaks to Moses, He is not giving Moses a name as we understand it. But He’s telling Moses to tell His people that Yahweh, ‘I AM THAT I AM’, the self-existing One has sent you. God is basically saying to Moses I don’t need a name but I will give you one to tell my people.

Now remember the Israelites have been in captivity in Egypt for 400 years and so God goes on to say in Exodus 3:15 just in case my people have forgotten who ‘I AM’, tell them ‘The LORD, (The One with all authority), the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has sent me to you.’

Now let’s fast forward a couple of thousand years. We know that the Gospel according to Matthew focuses a lot on prophecy where Matthew points out time and time again that Jesus is the promised Messiah. The Gospel according to Mark focuses a lot on Jesus’ miracles and Mark uses the word ‘immediately’ regularly.

The Gospel according to Luke focuses a lot on Jesus’ humanity and shows Jesus as being the Son of man. And finally, the Gospel according to John focuses a lot on Jesus being the Son of God which shows the Deity of Christ.

But have you ever wondered why all the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus are found in John’s Gospel?

John writes in John 20:30-31 ‘Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name’.

Now John never uses the word miracle in his gospel but he does use the word sign regularly. And there are 16 signs recorded in John’s gospel, 8 are things which Jesus did and 8 were things which Jesus said.

John is basically saying that the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus are signs, selected from many other signs. And he says these signs are selected with a purpose in mind and that purpose is that you believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be.

And so just as `I AM’ is God’s own identification of Himself in Exodus 3:14 to Moses. Remember that strictly speaking, it is not a name, but a declaration of His Nature. When we come to the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus, we need to remember that Jesus was not giving Himself a Name or a title, but was asserting His Deity. In other words every ‘I AM’ reveals some aspect of His nature and purpose.

‘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.’ John 8:12

‘As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ John 9:5

‘I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.’ John 12:46

‘I am the light of the world.’ John 8:12

These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, John 8:20 near the huge candelabra that shed their magnificent light so impressively. Moreover, Jesus spoke these words when the Feast of Tabernacles was just ended. The audience, no doubt, couldn’t help being reminded of the pillar of light their forefathers followed in the desert, John 8:12.

Those who had rebelled against the guidance of the pillar of light had died in the desert, and others had reached the promised land. Here we have a splendid example of type and Antitype. It is even so that he who follows Jesus will not only walk in the light but have the light, mind, many are called but few are chosen. Matthew 20:16.

As implied, it is indeed true that the world was and still is morally dark and that Jesus is the light of the world, the source of all spiritual knowledge leading to eternal life.

All this is conditional, however: we should indeed follow Jesus i.e. consecrate our soul, our lives, totally to Jesus. One cannot follow two things at once; if we follow Jesus we can follow only Him and not something or someone else at the same time.

In following Jesus, we will enjoy everything that is involved in this; we get security, comforts, and safety since Jesus points out to us the perils and consequences of not following him. He is in as many words showing us the way towards salvation. Jesus puts his light at our disposal so as to make us see the solution to problems, to deal with practical perplexities even when the answer is simply ‘why should this bother you, it is not really important altogether.’

Thus, Jesus gives us hope and the reception of the light in one’s soul results in us having the duty to pass it on to others.

That Jesus is the light of the world is a fact that is ever increasingly attested by the positive changes that have taken place or still take place in the lives of innumerable people who have come into contact with Jesus. His whole life here on earth and His whole demeanour proved the claim to be true as well.

When Jesus said to the people who were above all things concerned to destroy him ‘Which of you convicts me of sin?’ John 8:46 they could not give him a positive answer, no matter how hard they wished to do so. A man without sin whatsoever has indeed the right to be called ‘The Light of the world’.

We know that in history there has only been ONE such man, Jesus Christ who is absolute deity since only deity can be without sin, 1 John 1:5.

Therefore, when we follow Jesus we are following God, the true light that enlightens every man, John 1:9 and our lives will not be a time-waste. The miserable retrospect and the terrible confusion in our lives find their origin in instances where we did not follow Jesus; they are the result of sin.

Hence, we can read the following words of the Prophet Isaiah and say amen! Isaiah 9:2 / 2 Corinthians 4:4. Paul says that the god of this age, the devil has blinded the minds of unbelievers. If you’re physically blind, light is useless and ineffective. Well in much the same way, you won’t and can’t see the light of the Gospel spiritually speaking because the devil has blinded you spiritually.

Because the Bible clearly tells us that hearing and believing the Gospel is only possible through God’s Word. In other words, it’s only when a person hears and reads the Bible and gets help to understand it, can the good news of Jesus be clearly seen.

And if you’re not a Christian please read, Ephesians 4:17-19. Paul says there are many people who walk around in the darkness and don’t even know it.

In Luke 2 we find a man named Simeon who foretold that he wouldn’t die until He saw the Messiah coming first. And when Jesus’ parents took Jesus to the temple courts, Simeon instantly recognised Him and said in Luke 2:30-32 ‘For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.’

At the very beginning of John’s Gospel, he says this in John 1:1-5. And claiming to be the light of the world wasn’t a new thing for Jesus, He was always the light of the world. In fact, in John 9 after Jesus heals a man who was born blind, He goes on to say in John 9:5 ‘While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’

So, Simeon knew Jesus was the Light to the Gentiles, John knew Jesus was the Light to all of mankind and Jesus Himself claimed to be that Light, John 8:12.

Now first of all notice where Jesus made this statement. John 8:20 tells us that ‘He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put.’

Think about it!

You can imagine Jesus walking through the treasury part of the temple which was a part of the Court of Women.

You can imagine Him just looking around and there, over in the corner were two huge lamp stands on which hung a number of lamps.

Now, these were usually lit after the evening sacrifice during the feast of tabernacles and historians tell us that they were so bright they could light up most of the city. And so, as Jesus is looking around, He sees the two-huge lampstands and says, ‘I am the light of the world’.

Now remember that Jesus is not a light among other lights, He is The Light. The Light which Isaiah prophesied about in Isaiah 49:6 when he writes, ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Isaiah also wrote in Isaiah 60:1-3 ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn’.

And so Jesus is not the light of Israel alone but the Light of the world.

In that great chapter in John’s gospel, where Jesus gives another sign, He says, ‘I am the good shepherd’. He says in John 10:10 ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’.

You see Jesus offers more than anyone on this earth can offer, and not only does He offer abundant life here and now, but He also offers eternal life.

And so, Jesus is The Light but we need to be careful of others who offer some other kind of light. That’s why I’m always sceptical of people who go around saying, ‘I’ve seen the light! I’ve seen the light!’

Listen, the apostle Paul saw the light on the road to Damascus but that experience didn’t save Him on that road. According to Acts 9:18, he wasn’t saved until he was immersed into Christ later by Ananias.

Now we may find this difficult to accept but there are other people going around pretending to be something they are not. The apostle Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Matthew 5:14-16 the Light of the world tells us that ‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’

Jesus asks, do you want to know what our role is in this dark world? He says, our role is simply to shine. He says, ‘You (all of us, all Christians) are the light of the world.’

And why is it important for all Christians to shine?

It’s important for us all to shine so that the world can see our heavenly Father’s glory. Now you might be wondering if Jesus is The Light of the world, how can we be the light of the world too?

Well we need to remember that we are not a light in and of ourselves, we have no light of our own but the light we possess is a reflected light. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 5:8 ‘For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.’

In other words, because we are in the Lord, our lights are simply illuminating lights, 2 Corinthians 4:6. In other words, just as the moon reflects the sun, we’re supposed to reflect the glory of God’s Son Jesus.

Now notice that the Light of the world says in Matthew 5:14-15 ‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.’

Jesus says your reflecting light is supposed to be visible, that’s why He talks about a town and a lampstand. He also says that we all should be radiant, that’s why He talks about us giving light. You know when you think about a lamp, its whole design purpose is to give light.

And if you were to light a lamp and stick it under the bowl, its purpose would be useless. And I think the church would be much more effective if all Christians shinned every day of the week. It’s just sad that some only shine on Sunday mornings. Jesus says, ‘you’re the light of the world’, not just your place of worship. He says, ‘let people see that light, ‘let your light so shine before men.’

Paul says in Philippians 2:14-15 ‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.’

Do you know that song, ‘this little light of mine’ that children sing?

Did you know that the Bible never says, ‘That you are a little light?’ The Bible never talks about this little light of mine, the Bible says, ‘You are a big, old awesome star’.

You’re a big huge light, shining in a dark universe. And as one of God’s stars, I’ve to reflect the brilliance of God’s holiness in this dark world. The Bible says, ‘That the world is crooked and perverse,’ in other words, it is full of crooks and perverts and God needs some big old stars in it.

How’s the world going to know it needs redeeming unless it strikes out hard against people that are living a radically different kind of life?

Ephesians 5 talks more about letting the light out. Paul said to that church in verses 8-14. God wants big stars in this dark world we live in, loved ones. The Living Bible says, ‘Once your heart was full of darkness, now it’s full of light from the Lord and your behaviour should show it.’

Now people are not always going to like the light because the light exposes their evil deeds. That’s why sometimes they are going to criticise the light and sometimes they are going to argue with the light.

Sometimes they are going to mock the light, but you’ve got to keep on shining. And that’s what Paul said. You just need to keep on shining because it’s not going to be hard to shine in the holy city. When we experience our future salvation and we’re taken to heaven and God himself is going to be the light of heaven. It’s not going to be hard to shine. But God said, ‘I want you to shine now in the midst of a very ugly world’.

The real issue is, is the light going to shine in the midst of a dark world? We don’t need isolation, where everybody gets together away from the world. What we need is some salvation getting worked out in the midst of the world. Peter says in 1 Peter 2:11-12, ‘Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us’.

We’ve got to be in the world so we can shine. Peter says in 1 Peter 2:15 ‘It’s God will, that by doing good you silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.’

It is God’s will to let our lights shine so bright, that some of the nonsense and sin gets spewed, and some of the venom being poured out in this world just gets shut up because it just can’t stand the heat of the light.

Now, remember that Jesus says, ‘I am the light of the world’ not for the Jews only, but everyone else as well. And Jesus doesn’t care where you come from or what your background is, He says eternal life is available to everyone and anyone who would believe in Him.

Jesus, Himself says in John 12:46 ‘No one who believes in me should stay in darkness’. He says in our main text in John 8:12 ‘Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.’

And so, the gospel is for everyone, regardless of where you are from or what your past has been like.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

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