Sermon – September 29, 2019

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John 8:12-20 – The Light of the World (mp3)

John’s gospel is unashamedly about the nature and wonder of Jesus Christ. He began his gospel with the most theological of all origin stories, as he told of the Word in/as God before time began. Yet, as Jesus comes on the scene, we expect more reaction than we actually get. His glory as God is covered, muted, hidden. But for those with eyes to see, Jesus is the light of the world. Today, we get a chance to ruminate on this truth. What does it mean for Jesus to be the light of the world? Why should it matter to us? And, perhaps most importantly, how do we know that it is true? In order to rightly consider these things, let us turn to John 8, and listen to Jesus himself!

1. Jesus is the radiant one
Light is used in many religions to depict many things. In Scripture, it is a mixture of many things, but knowledge and glory are two of the most prominent metaphors that light stands for. Knowledge of God’s glory will be revealed, and has been revealed, in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus is indeed the light of the world, as he is the embodiment of both the glory of God and has come to give us knowledge of God. In doing so, he is the one in whom salvation comes.

2. Jesus is the revealed one
Jesus’ statement to be the light of the world is quite the claim – one that the Pharisees rightly say needs to be backed up. If he testifies to himself, and that alone, his testimony cannot be accepted. Jesus says that this is precisely true; and yet, the Father always testifies with him. Like his statement in 5:31-32, Jesus knows that the Father is always testifying to him, because the Father is always with him. He does nothing without the Father, and all that he sees the Father do he does likewise. The two are inseparable. To have seen Jesus, to know Jesus, is to know the Father. Jesus, unlike anyone or anything else, reveals the Father because he is the exact imprint of his nature and the very essence of his being clothed in human flesh.

3. Jesus is the righteous one
The reason why the Pharisees consistently get Jesus wrong is the same reason we do: we judge merely by the flesh, by what we see with our eyes. Jesus, when he judges, do so with the Father. He points out to the Pharisees that the Father has helped them to judge correctly: the law calls for two witnesses. Yet, they don’t understand what they see. Friends, let us listen to the word, and judge Jesus according to what is said rather than just our flesh, just our wants and desires. He alone is the righteous one, and is true in his judgments; we are certainly not. When we judge according to the flesh alone, we end up with a Jesus that is not the true and abiding Jesus of Scriptures. In doing so, we are called on to follow him. So, taste and see that the Lord is good; follow and find your path illuminated!