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The Light of the World

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The Light of the World

For some weeks we have been working through the parable of the soils in . The parable of the sower is also given to us in . Immediately following the section on the soils are the following words from Jesus: ().
A Harmony of the Gospels (a) Parable of the Sower

21And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Sermon text:
As we have talked through the parable of the sower, we learned that the word goes out to all types of soil. The four types of soil listen in are:
Seed fell along the path
Seed fell on rocky ground
Seed fell among the thorns
Seed fell on good soil
If you have been in church any length of time, you have most likely heard a sermon at some point about how Jesus is the light. That is not exactly what I want to do today. I want to think through what does this concept of light men for us?
I also thought that since we have been reading the gospel of John this month, it would be appropriate to transition to preaching a sermon from John.
Earlier we read at least one verse that is quite familiar to us- . I am the light of the world. The more I read this passage this week, I could not remove it from the response Jesus receives at these words.
There are three things I want to draw out of this text this week.
Jesus’ testimony
The Pharisee’s response to his testimony
What is your response to this claim?
I listened to a sermon from a friend on mine on this week. In that passage, Jesus is approached by Nicodemus. In preparation, he asked his kids, “If you could spend time with anyone, who would it be?” His youngest son, who was about four at the time said, “myself.” There are billions of people in this world, and billions who have gone before us. And yet, out of all these billions, Jesus says, I am the light of the world. No one else. What a bold claim! To say, at this moment in history, in this brief time that we have, it is I that am the light of the world. No one else. Can you be surprised by the Pharisee’s claim?
You have probably heard this before, but it is first worth just exploring what is a Pharisee in the Bible. The word Pharisee simply means “separated one.” They separated themselves from society to study and teach the law, but also separated themselves from those considered unclean. They also put great emphasis on tradition, making it equal with the Old Testament laws themselves.
The Pharisees in this case offer opposition to Jesus’ claims of authority.
I. Jesus; testimony
This is the second of the “I am” statements followed by Jesus saying what he is.
a. I am the bread of life
b. I am the light of the world.
c. I am the door of the sheep ()
d. I am the good shepherd ()
e. I am the resurrection and the life ()
f. I am the way, the truth and the life ()
g. I am the vine ()
These are just some of the dramatic things Jesus says. He says just a bit before 8:12, whoever thirsts, come to me and drink ().
begins with the word, “Again.” Again Jesus spoke to them. When I think of what he said here, I am reminded of a boxer. In he is the living water, but he does not stop there! Again he spoke. Jesus is not done.
This is happening during the feast of Tabernacles, also called in the Bible the Feast of Ingathering and the Feast of Booths. This was a popular occasion, and many Jews took pilgrimages to Jerusalem to celebrate for seven days.
This background is important for what Jesus has to say: From the Babylonian Talmud:
The New American Commentary: John 1–11 (4) The Light of Tabernacles and the Great Confrontation (8:12–59)

On the first night of Tabernacles and apparently on each night of the feast except on Sabbath, the worshipers awaited the signal of the special lighting of the festive golden lamps of Tabernacles in the court of women. The lamps were intended to remind worshipers of God’s leading the people of Israel through the wilderness at night by a pillar of fire. The lighting of lamps also signaled Israel’s recommitment to the God of light, and it was accompanied by festive music of the Levites and special dancing by chosen men of piety

Think of this picture
And what does he say?
I am the light of the world. He did not say, “I am enlightened.” Think of Buddhism. What is a Budda? One who has achieved a state of “bodhi,” or enlightenment. Jesus does not claim to be an enlightened one. He claims to be the light itself.
The book of John begins with the concept of light. Think back to -(read)
Jesus as the light to the world in not only a statement of who he is, but also a fulfillment of the Old Testament.
Just a few verses will demonstrate this: . The Lord is my light and salvation. Whom shall I fear?
“His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of praise. His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power.”
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

19  The sun shall be no more

your light by day,

nor for brightness shall the moon

give you light;

but the LORD will be your everlasting light,

and your God will be your glory.

20  Your sun shall no more go down,

nor your moon withdraw itself;

for the LORD will be your everlasting light,

and your days of mourning shall be ended.

23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

And what does the apostle John say in his first letter? “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
What does it mean when we say that Jesus is the light? Light is a common theme of good in a variety of religious backgrounds, so what is particular about this context?
Jesus is not just a light, he is the light. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.
The theme of light goes throughout the Scriptures, and in many ways it is one that can be understood, but what is the claim Jesus is making?
We also need to consider the authority of this claim. This verse links the feast of Tabernacles in chapter 7 with the outworking of Jesus’ claim to be the light in chapter nine. What does he say in 9:5.
Sometimes preachers may struggle with finding application fora sermon. What more application can you give for saying I am the light of the world than the heal a blind man?
It’s always important to remember that the gospel message often turns our way of viewing things upside down. It is the blind who see. It is the weak who have power. It is the poor who are rich. It is the religious leaders who don’t seem to understand Jesus.
The light of the world does not just give a glimpse of the light; everything is illumined.
How does this effect us today? How does the fact that Jesus is the light of the world and has illumined your heart effect us today?
Now the whole world draws its light from the light of Jesus.
Here light is also related to the truthfulness of the witness.
What is Jesus testimony? He is the light of the world.
What is the Pharisees response to this testimony? “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Think about this; what is wrong with their response to Jesus. They are asking for witnesses to this testimony.
The Gospel according to John 1. The Witness of the Father (8:12–20)

They do not address themselves to the main question. Indeed, they do not speak of light and darkness at all. Typically they fasten on a legal technicality

The Gospel according to John 1. The Witness of the Father (8:12–20)

They do not address themselves to the main question. Indeed, they do not speak of light and darkness at all. Typically they fasten on a legal technicality

They say there is no legal worth to the claim. Think about that. Jesus comes before you saying “I am the light of the world.” You say, well, if we were in a courtroom that would not have any legal bearing.
This is the answer people often make when faced with a reality that they do not want to face-”I do not see it this way. The evidence is not sufficient to establish the claim.”
It is interesting that they try to use Jesus own words to catch him. True over a few pages earlier to . What does it say? “If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.”
Second, the Pharisees, if anyone know their Hebrew Bible. What does say? “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.”
Further, Deut. 19:15
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to John a. The Authority of Jesus’ Testimony (8:12–20)

He was certainly not saying that if he spoke without supporting witness he was necessarily a liar, but that if he testified about himself—i.e. outside the framework he had just established, in which everything he says is nothing more and nothing less than what the Father gives him to say—then of course the kind of claims he was making could not possibly be true.

What is the difference? Jesus comes as the fulfillment of Scriptures; not simple as another Scribe, Pharisee, or interpreter of the Scriptures.
Jesus addresses their judgment by speaking to their ignorance.
Jesus does not say, “Why don’t you ask the people who were at the wedding feast at Cana?” He does not say, “Why don’t you ask the 5,000 I fed not so long ago. Why don’t you ask the man by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem who had been an invalid for 38 years who I healed?
Rather than being defensive he goes on the offensive.
This is certainly not what the Pharisees expected! They were there to question him, and he made it clear that understood nothing.
ex. of a child questioning a parent-they simply do not understand the full picture.
What does Jesus say there problem is? They are judging according to the flesh. This is the came phrase used by Paul ()
Jesus knows his origin and his destination, but the Pharisees know neither.
The Message of John a. Two Kinds of Teacher—Discourse 2 (8:12–30)

Jesus’ defence of his method and the authority which underlay it is fourfold.

1. He appeals to his mission (14). He knows where he has come from and where he is going. He is the one sent into the world by the Father and engaged in a mission for him which will culminate in his exaltation.

2. He appeals directly to his Father’s presence with him (16): I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. Literally this last sentence is simply ‘I and the Father …’, expressing the relationship which is the heartbeat of Jesus’ life, as this gospel testifies repeatedly. There can be no higher claim. His unity with the Father means that his teaching and judgment are those of the Father. This claim demands decision; either we accept this and believe, or reject it and disbelieve.

3. He appeals to his divine origin. I am not from this world (23). He does not, like his opponents, originate from this present order; he speaks from the standpoint of one who has come from the heavenly world.

4. He appeals to his future ‘lifting up’ (28). This impending exaltation of the Son of Man will significantly vindicate his teaching. At that time you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me (28).

I think we can understand fairly well how viewing Jesus as the light of the world can apply to us today, but what about this section? What does it matter if the Pharisees asked him to bring in a witness and Jesus said God is my witness?
The New American Commentary: John 1–11 (4) The Light of Tabernacles and the Great Confrontation (8:12–59)

What is the point of this discourse on judgment? Perhaps the answer lies in the Greek word krinein itself, which can mean both “judge” and “condemn.” The purpose of the coming of Jesus was not to condemn but to save (3:17; cf. 8:15). Yet the very coming of Jesus set persons into decisive categories based on their acceptance or rejection of him. Accordingly, by his coming, the Father who sent him placed Jesus in the position of evaluation (5:22–24; 9:39) so that Jesus’ role actually was and is part of the Father’s judgment or evaluation (8:16). The purpose in the coming of Jesus had thus not changed. He came to be the Savior of the world (4:42), but human decision did mean that Jesus evaluated people (cf. 8:44; 9:39–41).

III. What is your response to Jesus’ claim?
Although the Pharisees planned to put Jesus on trial in this case demanding to know his witnesses, Jesus puts them on trial and the verdict is in v. 19- “You know neither me nor my father.”
v. 21-30 further emphasize that they have not a clue about what is going on. Look at their response to his words in v. 21-24
I told you. Do you not get it. Sometime we picture Jesus as this fairhaired passive guy teaching by the riverside. But listen to his words here-
v. 25- Do you not get it?
They ask “Who are you?”
So I ask you today what is your response to Jesus’ claim? He said he is the light of the world. This is either true or it is not.
Who is Jesus to you?
All is not lost. Look at verse 30- As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
Though the Son, we are able to believe. We are able to keep in step with the Spirit. We are able to understand the God has come and transformed our hearts and life.
I want to end with the words of Augustine:
New Testament IVa: John 1–10 The Light that Made the Sun

And the Light that made the sun, under which he also made us, was himself made under the sun for our sake. That Light that made the sun was made, I say, [to come humbly] under the sun for our sake.… He hid himself under the cloud of the flesh, not to obscure but to temper his light. Speaking then through the cloud of the flesh, the Light unfailing, the Light of wisdom says to humanity, “I am the Light of the world.

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