Jesus IS the light of the world! What does that mean for us today? Join Julie Jenkins as we study John 8:12-30 together.
Welcome to Walking in the Word, the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leaders’ podcast. I’m your host Julie Jenkins.
We have an exciting new offering for you at Women World Leaders! We would love to welcome all ladies, no matter where you live, to join us for our monthly leadership meetings on Zoom. We meet the third Monday of each month at 7pm ET. So, if you are listening to this soon after it is released, our next meeting is Monday, September 19th. You will have to do the math to figure out what time 7pm ET is in your time zone – or, if you’re like me, you’ll just Google it! We do recognize that some of you may have to stay up late or get up early, and we are sorry about that! All I can say is that in heaven, we will surely all be on the same time zone – that isn’t biblical at all – just my hope! At our Leadership meetings, our dear Kimberly Hobbs gives updates on what is going on in the ministry, and we receive a teaching geared toward Christian leaders in today’s world. You will also have the opportunity to meet other ladies from around the world who are involved in the ministry and see how you can connect. To get the Zoom link, register at womenworldleaders.com and we will email you the link. And then set your calendar alarm for the third Monday of every month at 7pm ET.
If you are new to the podcast, I want to welcome you – we do offer three different podcasts in one. This is our Wednesday edition, where we take a few minutes to open the Bible together, study the Scripture, and ask God to show us what He wants us to know today. We are currently walking through the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – as we look at Jesus’ life in a chronological fashion. Today’s teaching comes from John, chapter 8:12-30. I invite you to open your Bible if you are able, but if you driving, walking, or even doing dishes as you listen, we simply ask you to open your hearts.
Before we begin, let’s pray…
Dear Heavenly Father – we do open our hearts to you as we open your Word. God, I ask that you speak through me, I long for you to be pleased with this teaching, so I ask you to take control of my thoughts and my tongue. God, we also pray for each listener – no matter where she is or what she is going through. We trust that you will speak directly to her and that she will receive a revelation of your glory. Thank you in advance. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
If you are a regular listener, you might have noticed that last week we veered off our path a bit. We returned to an earlier teaching where Jesus’ gave us the wonderful instruction that we are to be light and salt. That was done purposefully as this week we return to Jesus’ teaching in the temple courts after the Festival of the Tabernacles when He tells the people that HE is THE light of the world.
Let’s begin in John chapter 8, verse 12 from the New Living Translation.
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
As we look at this statement, let’s attempt to transport ourselves back in time. It may be difficult to imagine, in today’s world, a time without electricity. We have to think really hard to imagine total darkness. I don’t know about you, but in my bedroom with my blackout curtains which prevent the neighbor’s floodlight from lighting my room at night, we have multiple sources of light – even in the supposed dark of night. The clock from the bathroom light spills into my room and the blue light from the phone charger on my nightstand glows…not to mention the light from the kitchen that randomly appears under my door as my teenage son decides to raid the cupboard for a midnight snack. In today’s day, we are rarely in total darkness.
But back in Jesus’ day? The darkness was DARK. And remember, the people were at the temple just finishing up their celebration of the feast of tabernacles – remembering the Israelite’s trek through the desert! Now, THAT must have been DARK being in the middle of the desert at night.
But if you remember the story from the Old Testament, it wasn’t dark, because God lit the way by showing His presence in a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud during the day. We often think of these pillars as guiding the Israelites, when the pillar moved, the people moved. When it stopped moving, the people set up camp. But not only was the pillar a visual reminder of God’s presence and a practical GPS, but it also offered protection. Remember – they were in a desert, where, in the day, it would reach 140 or 150 degrees, and at night, it could fall below freezing. The Israelites NEEDED the cloud to shade them from the sun, and they NEEDED the fire to give them heat at night.
This would have been top of mind for those listening to Jesus’ words as they had JUST celebrated the Festival and had golden lamps burning brightly reminding them of God’s glorious presence among their ancestors – a presence that they themselves longed for.
So, Jesus announces – I AM the light – the One you have been waiting for. If you follow me, I will light your path and lead you to life.
13 The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.”
Remember the mindset of the Pharisees – they had tried everything to get Jesus to be quiet and to get the people to stop listening to Him, but nothing had worked. So they stoop even lower, and begin to ridicule Him.
This kind of reminds me of a schoolyard fight, when the bully has nothing credible to attack with, and says something unintelligible, like, “I know you are, but what am I?” – that never made sense to me!
… “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. 15 You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. 16 And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father[a] who sent me is with me. 17 Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact.[b] 18 I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”
Jesus and God the Father agreed. That makes a credible consensus.
As Christians, we should go to our Father with EVERY decision and step we take. We have such a limited view from our earthly bodies – but God can see it all. And He knows all. Not only should we go to Him with every decision, but we can trust His answer! Let’s think about the Israelites in the desert again for a minute. They trusted God’s visible presence in the cloud and the fire. When the cloud moved, they moved. When it stayed still, they stayed still. On the surface, we can think – wow…they were REALLY obedient…and they were. But the truth is…they HAD to follow God’s leading in ORDER to live. If they didn’t follow under the shade of the cloud, it wouldn’t be long before the scorching sun killed them. And if the pillar of fire got too far away, they would freeze to death in the desert nights. God WAS their key to them LIVING. And much the same way, JESUS is our key to life. By not following Him, we WILL die.
This time, the Pharisees responded with a dirty, nasty question…
19 “Where IS your father?” they asked.
This was a dig at Jesus. Nothing more and nothing less. They knew Jesus was the son of Joseph…at the very minimum, this question was reminding Jesus that his father, Joseph, was dead. At the worst, they were reminding Jesus that Joseph was NOT his father and Mary, Jesus’ mother, had gotten pregnant out of wedlock. Truly a disgusting dig if it had any merit, but in reality, it was quite a foolish question.
Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” 20 Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time[c] had not yet come.
God was STILL protecting Jesus…and Jesus kept teaching…verse 21…
21 Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.”
22 The people[d] asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going’?”
We can wonder here if the people were trying to understand, but when we look at their question, we uncover their pride. The Jewish people had a firm belief that those who committed suicide would go to hell. Today, we know that Jesus’ death and resurrection covers ALL our sins – and that when we give our lives to Christ, NOTHING can separate us from eternity in heaven. But the listeners that day were living under the law – they were trying REALLY HARD to get to God – by following every law and completing every sacrifice to a T. And apparently, they assumed that they were doing a pretty awesome job, because they thought that if they couldn’t go where Jesus was going, that must mean that He was going to commit suicide and go to hell, because SURELY, THEY were going to heaven.
Seriously – how is Jesus so patient with them? How is he so patient with us?? Verse 23…
23 Jesus continued, “YOU are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. 24 That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be,[e] you will die in your sins.”
25 “Who are you?” they demanded.
Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be.[f] 26 I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” 27 But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father.
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he.[g] I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him.
Jesus IS the light of the world. He is God with us. He is our guide. And He is our ever-present protection. Beyond that, Jesus is the one who was lifted up, killed on a cross, descended to hell for three days as He paid for OUR sins, and rose again, overcoming death, once for all time.
We can trust Jesus – with our daily decisions. We can trust Jesus to lead us where we should go. We can trust Jesus to protect us. And when we give our lives to Him, when we believe in our hearts that He IS God and we profess that with our mouths, we can trust Him with our lives. Because He will lead us to our TRUE promised land – an eternity with God in the heavenly realms. Let’s confess together shall we?
Dear Jesus – we give our lives and ourselves to you right now! You are LORD and we are honored to serve you and follow you wherever you lead. We know that we are sinners, and without you and your saving grace, we are doomed to live in darkness for eternity, apart from you. Thank you for being our light in the dark, our protection, and most importantly, our Lord and Savior. Thank you for coming to earth to bring us home to you. We love you and we give you our hearts. And all God’s people said, Amen!
Have a beautiful day!