I Am the Light of the World
Jesus is the saving, redeeming, and creation-filling light of the world.
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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." So the Pharisees said to him, "You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true." Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me." They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
So he said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come." So the Jews said, "Will he kill himself, since he says, 'Where I am going, you cannot come'?" He said to them, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him." They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him." As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
When we come to the end of this text of John 8:12-30, we see the response of many of the people in verse 30: "As he was saying these things, many believed in him." This is good news, because Jesus had said in verse 24, "Unless you believe that I am he [literally, that I Am] you will die in your sins." So here we have a picture of people passing from death to life. They will not die in their sins. They will be forgiven. Their sins will not be held against them. And when they die, they will go where Jesus has gone—to the Father—unlike the unrepentant, as Jesus says in verse 21, "Where I am going you cannot come." And so these believers will live in everlasting light and joy.
John Piper is pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, radio speaker for "Desiring God," and author of Desiring God (Multnomah).