Sermon – October 6, 2019
In John 8:12-20, we considered the fact that Jesus was indeed the light of the world. Today, in a continuation of that theme, we get to consider more carefully what Jesus might mean when he says that he is the “Light of the World.” Jesus is not one who will allow us to be confused about who he is. He is indeed the servant, send to achieve the salvation of the world; yet, he is not just a servant sent, he is the creator who stands above all other created things. And that sets him quite apart from us, who are fallen and wretched. Let us look to John 8:21-30 and see what a great salvation has been afforded us by such a great Savior!
1. Who Jesus Is:
In the midst of v. 24, Jesus affirms that unless we believe that “I am he” we will die in our sins. This is one of the famous “ego eimi” statements from Jesus, usually ended with a description of who he is (i.e. I am the light of the world; I am the door; etc.). Here, however, as in v. 28 and v. 58, the statement stands absolute and alone. In v. 58 it is clear that Jesus indicates that he is the God of the OT: the difficult grammar implies almost nothing else. But what does he mean by it here? While Exodus 3:13-14 rings in our ears, with the reference to the Servant of the Lord, witnesses, and belief, we are probably on better ground to see Isaiah 43:10 as the reference here. In doing so, Jesus is making a sly, but profound, statement. He is the servant of God, yes, but he is also the God of the OT, both found in one. And knowing this fact helps us to better understand v. 28, and the reference to them knowing “I am he” when lifted up. Being “lifted up” is likely a reference both to his crucifixion and his resurrection. In the crucifixion, Jesus proves that he is the suffering servant, obedient to the will of God above all things. In the resurrection, Jesus proves that he is God; able to take back up his life if he chooses. This is who Jesus is: our merciful brother and mighty God, a servant sent for us and Lord of all, the majesty of heaven embodied in the lowly flesh of earth. Praise God for him!
2. Who We Are:
Jesus warns us that when he leaves, we will seek him, and not be able to find him. Indeed, that is not because we are seeking Jesus, but because we are seeking our Savior, but will never find him here on the earth. We are constantly looking for something or someone to save us: economically, medically, politically, through policies, heroes, slogans, technologies. But, we are all living in a fallen world, ruled by Satan, and so we have no way of dealing with the sin that surrounds us, whether others or our own. Therefore, without him, we are doomed to hell. Yet, if we believe and trust that Jesus is “he”, then we can be pulled out of this mess, be forgiven for our sins, be set free from our chains, and even become like he is. We are wretched, sinful, and doomed. But Jesus is great and merciful! Let us believe in him, and no longer walk in the darkness of the world, but rather in his light!