Sermon: God’s Light for a Dark World John 8:12

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God’s Light for a Dark World

John 8:12

Primary Truth Taught- Jesus is the true Light that brings light and life to all who follow Him.


In this world there is much darkness. Even though everyone has 12 or so hours of sunlight most of the world lies in utter spiritual darkness. They cannot see true reality. They cannot understand spiritual truth. Those who are lost are living in utter darkness.

We have probably seen this very well during these last few months leading up to the presidential election. Darkness seems to be everywhere. We have been shown by the corrupt media one scandal after another and still it doesn’t seem to matter because while the candidates walk in darkness so does most of the world.

Jesus is going to show us that while darkness is pervasive in the world, He has come into the world to give it light.

Light is always used to show that God is with His people. So often around Christmas we read Isaiah 9:1-2

Isaiah 9:1–2 (ESV)

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

   The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

       those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,

on them has light shone.

It’s no mistake that Luke records Zechariah’s prophecy in Luke 1 referring to Isaiah 9 and connecting that directly to Jesus.

Luke 1:79–80 (ESV)

79    to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

We could go on with other examples but we see from this one that Jesus is God’s light. Jesus is God with His people. Jesus is the One all the prophets spoke of as the One coming into the world. Jesus is God infleshed. Jesus is the promised Messiah.

Human Need Met

We must understand the concept of Jesus being the Light of the world. The reason is that we can be tempted to seek for truth and light in so many other places. There is none to be found except in Jesus. He is the only Light.

John 8:12 (ESV)

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

  1. Jesus Came to a World in True Darkness

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

What Kind of Darkness?

The Bible’s use of the word darkness and what Jesus meant is the realm of ignorance and folly.

Psalm 82:5 (ESV)

   They have neither knowledge nor understanding,

they walk about in darkness;

all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

The Prophet Micah spoke of a day when the prophets would no longer prophecy and the people would walk in darkness. So, we could say that darkness is the realm in which people who do not know God walk. It takes God to break in and illuminate the darkness. That’s why when there is no more revelation from God as in Micah’s day it could be said the people walk in darkness.

Jesus is going to contrast this with walking in the light. So, everyone before they know Jesus as Lord and Savior are walking around in utter darkness…everyone. They cannot walk in the light until the light of Christ shines on them.

Darkness can also mean the realm of evil and fear.
Proverbs 2:13 (ESV)

13    who forsake the paths of uprightness

to walk in the ways of darkness,

Proverbs 4:19 (ESV)

19    The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;

they do not know over what they stumble.

Hell is called the place of outer darkness. I don’t know if hell is a place where it is physically dark or if darkness refers to a place of utter evil and wickedness.

Man’s dilemma is radical darkness. Mankind is cast into darkness at birth and unless God works will remain in that darkness and never know any difference. If all a person ever knows is darkness they don’t know what light is. They are dead and stuck in that state and don’t know anything other than darkness.

John 3:19 (ESV)

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

How can a captive fish that was born in a fish tank and has lived its entire life in a 3’ X 2’ glass tank know anything of the ocean?

The lost word’s judgment is that God simply does nothing to illuminate them and leaves them to their natural state. John tells us that Jesus has come into the world as Light but people don’t desire Him, they desire their sin and their darkness.

Isaiah 8:22 (ESV)

22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Isaiah 59:9–10 (ESV)

   Therefore justice is far from us,

and righteousness does not overtake us;

       we hope for light, and behold, darkness,

and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.

10    We grope for the wall like the blind;

we grope like those who have no eyes;

       we stumble at noon as in the twilight,

among those in full vigor we are like dead men.

I pray we all get a sense here of humanity’s sad state. This is the world Jesus entered. There was no light. God had not sent any prophecies for at least 400 years. There was only darkness, silence and death.

We must remember that the world was not created in darkness. The darkness came when sin came. What God created as good is now dark and cursed.

John uses Light to show us that God is present. Whenever the true Light enters the world, God enters the world. God incarnate, Jesus Christ brought true light with Him…

  1. Jesus Came to the World as True God

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

We remember the expression I Am…

John gives us seven I Am sayings of Jesus. We’ve already looked at the first one…
John 6:35 (ESV)

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Notice the parallel… I Am the bread of Life, Light of the World whoever comes to Me whoever follows Me whoever believes in Me will have eternal life will have the light of life.

Jesus is the great I Am who sent Moses to Egypt. Jesus is the eternal God who goes into darkness to save His people. He went into Egypt to rescue the Israelites and He came to earth to rescue us.

Jesus is very God of very God. Jesus is of the same substance as God. Jesus is the second Person of the Trinity…He is God. He was not created but, in fact, is the Creator.

  1. Jesus Came to the World as True Light

What does Jesus mean when He called Himself the Light of the World? Jesus had in mind many OT references to Light when He used the word.

John 1:9 (ESV)

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

  1. He meant Deity

He’s already said I Am and shows us His deity but Jesus goes even farther by saying The Light of the World…

Psalm 27:1 (ESV)

   The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

       The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

Isaiah 60:19 (ESV)

19    The sun shall be no more

your light by day,

       nor for brightness shall the moon

give you light;

       but the Lord will be your everlasting light,

and your God will be your glory.

1 John 1:5 (ESV)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

When He used the phrase, Light of the World, Jesus referred to the fact that in Him God came to visit this dark place and His dying people. He alone would bring true light because He is God.

Jesus stood in the courtyard of the treasury or the courtyard of women, which was as far as the women, could go into the temple. What’s significant about this is the fact that at night the giant candelabra was lit and raised to the top literally illuminating the temple area. It was said that there’s not a wall in the entire city that didn’t receive some light from the candelabra.

Just as this giant chandelier lit up the nearby parts of the city so Jesus is saying that He gives light to the world.

We must understand the reality here. Unless God gives us light we will remain in complete and utter darkness for eternity. We need to see and Jesus alone gives us the light we need, true light to see. Once we see, we are saved. Or we’re saved and we see. Or they both happen at once. At any rate, God illuminates our darkness and we see Christ as all glorious and we are snatched from the realm of darkness and placed into the realm of light.

I Am the Light of the World…I Am the one and only true God who brings His true light to the dark world.

  1. He Meant Light to Follow

Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness
Being illumined by God will allow us to follow Jesus. When we follow Him we are no longer walking in darkness.

Another connection we should make here is the light that led the Israelites through the darkness of the wilderness.

When they lit the giant candelabra in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles, it symbolized the pillar of fire that led the Israelites through the deep darkness of the desert wilderness.

Exodus 13:21–22 (ESV)

21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

Ultimately, Jesus, as our Light, leads us through the wicked sinful world (Our Wilderness) to heaven (Our Promised Land). He is our pillar of fire lighting the way. Practically, what does it mean to follow Jesus? We hear that a lot and read it in the Bible but what does it mean to actually follow Jesus?

The Greek word translated as Follow, is akolutheo. It is often used when a soldier follows his commander into battle. Sometimes it’s used for a slave’s service to his Master. Other times it’s used when one accepts or follows wise counsel and submits to it.
To follow Christ is to commit ourselves wholly and entirely to Him in every matter both of doctrine and practice– J C Ryle

The issue we face in modern day Christianity is being taught about a Savior from sin but not about Jesus’ requirement that once we are saved and made to see truth, now we are required to believe everything the Bible teaches and obey all Jesus Commands. This gets us into the Lordship debate. Some say you can have Jesus as Savior without submitting to Him as Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (ESV)

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Salvation is free but discipleship is costly. Both go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.

Based on the biblical mandate, Jesus’ words to follow Him, is to believe what the Bible teaches and to obey what the Bible commands. This is what following Christ is and looks like.

Why is it so important to follow Christ?

  1. Following Jesus Means Life

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Psalm 27:1 (ESV)

   The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

       The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

Colossians 1:13–14 (ESV)

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

To follow Jesus is to live. To believe and obey Him is life. We’ve been set free from the darkness and brought into the light of life.

I pray we are all following Jesus through this dark and evil world to the Promised Land.

God’s Light for a Dark World

John 8:12

Primary Truth Taught- Jesus is the true Light that brings light and life to all who follow Him.



**Sources Used-

Phillip’s Reformed Expository Commentary on John

The Macarthur New Testament Commentary on John





Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


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