Our front porch light burned out a few years ago. Soon after that, the floodlight above our garage also burned out, and it seems they don’t make that model anymore. Did I mention that we live in Eastern Europe on a dirt road with absolutely no city lights? Darkness. Complete and utter darkness is how I would describe the exterior of our house in the bleak mid-winter.

Darkness is also an apt description of the moral decay in our society today, as well as in Israel back in Jesus’ day. Earlier in his gospel, John explained, “People loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil” (3:19).

Light and dark have existed in every people group and nation throughout time. It is an impactful visual metaphor of good and evil. The light metaphor has long been a part of Israel’s history. The Jews associated light with God’s presence. Not only did He create light on the first day, but He revealed Himself through light (a burning bush) to Moses, and led the Israelites through the wilderness by light (a pillar of fire). After the completion of the temple, God’s light and glory filled the temple (2 Chronicles 7:1).

In the New Testament, we again see light representing God’s presence. During the Feast of Tabernacles, there was a grand ceremony called the “Illumination of the Temple,” which involved ritual lighting of four golden oil lamps in the Court of Women. These lamps were massive menorahs, measuring 75 feet tall. During the festival, they were lit in the Temple at night to remind the Jews of the pillar of fire that had guided their people in the wilderness. Some scholars believe the light illuminated the entire city of Jerusalem! Jewish rabbis explain how this light was also symbolic of God’s future Shekinah glory, which was promised to return to Israel with the coming of the Messiah. 

It is difficult in our day to have a visual equivalent of this magnificent display of lights. I went to university in a town surrounded by cornfields, and on an average night, it was quite dark. But not on game night! On a game night, the darkness surrounding the football stadium was dispelled by innumerable floodlights, fans, and sometimes even fireworks! 

When studying Jesus’ claim in John 8:12 we need to understand where Jesus was when He made His extravagant claim. Did you know that Jesus was actually in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles? Having understood this amazing display of lights during the “Illumination of the Temple,” Jesus’ statement about Himself makes a major impact. 

“I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

What an amazing truth about our God! Jesus declared that He is God in the flesh, the Messiah. Isaiah predicted this moment in the Old Testament, that the Servant of the Lord would be a light not only to Jerusalem but to the whole world!

“I will make you a light to the nations” (Isaiah 49:6)

Jesus told the Jews that He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy, the coming light they celebrated and prepared for in this ceremony.

Is there darkness around you today? Maybe it’s not on your front porch, but deeper in your heart. Jesus can come and illuminate those places, bringing His light and life to you even in your darkest moment. He doesn’t ask that you clean yourself up before coming to Him. He simply wants you to come. And, if you choose to follow Him, you never need to walk in darkness. 

Praying for you today, sister, that the Lord would shine anew the light of His salvation; that His Shekinah glory would illuminate your heart, your home, your city, and your nation! In addition to declaring that He is the light of the world, Jesus also called us, His disciples, to be the light of the world! “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:15–16). 

May we shine the light of the world, the light of life, Jesus’ light, into the darkness around us!

Week 4 Challenge:

This is a significant week in our study of John’s Gospel! We’ll study four of Jesus’ claims about Himself and see the final two signs He performed. As you study these signs and claims, record what each teaches you about Jesus and how these claims and miracles impact your life and your faith today.

Week 4 Reading Plan

Week 4 Memory Verse

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Krista Taylor

Krista Taylor

Krista Taylor is an adventurer at heart and passionate about seeing the nations reached for Christ. Originally from Canada, she studied in the USA and is a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate. She currently lives in Poland with her husband and five children, where they are involved in discipleship, teaching God's Word, and church planting. Krista is the Polish branch leader for Love God Greatly. She is also passionate about teaching her five children and making God's truths clear to them through homeschooling, creative expressions of motherhood, and adventuring in the Polish mountains. She loves to capture their adventures through photography. 

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