John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
I want to take hold of this. I want to take hold of it with my understanding. And I want to take hold of it as though life depends on it, my life and the life of those around me.
Light dispels darkness. This is easy to recognize in the physical realm – when a light is turned on, darkness is gone. In the emotional world, light can be felt. If there is a bright mood, it can be felt. And if there is a melancholy, that too is felt.
How about in the spiritual realm? Now I want to say that we are integrated physical, emotional and spiritual beings. Physical light can lift up a person’s emotions. Emotional pain can lead us to desire a dark and shaded room. What Jesus tells me, tells us, here in this verse, is that following him, imitating his way of life, and thinking his thoughts with him dispels darkness.
There is one source of spiritual light, Jesus the Messiah, light from above. The integration of our being means that light from above can become light within. Light within will spill out of our countenance, our speech and infect the people around us. Isn’t this what Jesus invites us to? “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. (Matthew 5:14-16) and the counterpoint- “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:22,23
If we read beyond John 8:12, we see that the Pharisees missed not only the point, but more importantly, the invitation. “How do we know what you say is true?” and they mistook not only the truth but the One who is the Truth.
God’s Word, God’s Spirit (the Spirit of Truth) and God’s People – Light from Jesus to light our way out of our darkness.
Psa. 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psa. 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
Is. 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their God.