Have you ever been in a forest at night with no source of light? Years ago I was hiking from a mountain top to our base camp and my flashlight stopped working. There was no moon and the darkness was palpable as I could scarcely make out the dim shadows of trees. Fortunately, I could hear a stream flowing and I knew our campsite was near a water source so I was able to follow the stream back to our campsite. It can be rather disconcerting being in a large forest with no source of light. Just as it is unnerving to be in the darkness physically, so too it can be disheartening spiritually. The good news is that we don’t need to endure the darkness spiritually,

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)

The backdrop of this statement is significant. A major feature of the Feast of Tabernacles was the lighting of large lamps in the court of the temple. In this verse we see a declaration, a response and a promise. Jesus makes a declaration about His identity, He emphatically declared that He is “the Light of the world.” This is one of the seven metaphorical “I am” statements that Jesus made in the Gospel of John. Light is a common motif of the Apostle John as over one third of the references to light in the New Testament are in his writings.

Next, we see our response – we are to follow Jesus. The one who follows Jesus is going in the same direction as Jesus. This implies that we’re obeying and submitting ourselves to Jesus by living life as He intended. The sermon on the mount (Matthew 5 – 7) portrays the attitude and behavior of one who is committed to follow Jesus. As we follow Jesus, we will reflect His light to others as evidenced by our good works,

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

The one who follows Jesus enjoys a wonderful promise. Jesus’ statement is emphatic, the one who follows Him will by no means remain in the darkness. It’s comforting to realize that all the darkness in the world cannot put out the light of one small candle. He reiterates this promise later on in this Gospel,

I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)

Do you feel like you’re in the darkness at times? One of the great tragedies of our day is not that men afraid of the dark, but they are afraid of the light. James A. Michener wisely observed, “An age is called Dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.” So what is our response?  Our responsibility is to walk in the light,

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

Follow me on twitter:  rickhiggins5