I am the Light of the World



Section 98 | Conflict over Jesus’ Claim to be the Light of the World

John 8:12-20
12 Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.1 2 He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.”3 4 13 The Pharisees therefore said to him, “You testify about yourself. Your testimony is not valid.” 14 Jesus answered them,“Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you don’t know where I came from, or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one. 16 Even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me. 17 It’s also written in your law that the testimony of two people is valid. 18 I am one who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me.” 19 They said therefore to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 Jesus spoke these words in the treasury, as he taught in the temple.5  Yet no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Section 99a | Jesus’ Relationship with the Father

John 8:21-30
21 Jesus said therefore again to them, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sins. Where I go, you can’t come.” 22 The Jews therefore said, “Will he kill himself, because he says, ‘Where I am going, you can’t come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.” 25 They said therefore to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you. However he who sent me is true; and the things which I heard from him, these I say to the world.” 27 They didn’t understand that he spoke to them about the Father. 28 Jesus therefore said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I say these things. 29 He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn’t left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he spoke these things, many believed in him.

Group Dialog

  1. What is the brightest light you have ever seen? How did you feel in the presence of that bright light? By contrast, What is the darkest dark that you have ever experienced and how did you feel?
  2. On different occasions in the New Testament, Jesus uses the following words to define himself: bread, light, vine, shepherd, way, truth and life. What human condition was He addressing when using each of these metaphors?
  3. When Jesus says that he is the light of the world during the Feast of Booths (Feast of Tabernacles), What do you think every Jew there should realize about who he is claiming to be?
  4. Do you think believers can sometimes walk in darkness while they think they’re walking in the light? If so, how How can this happen and What danger lies in wait for them/us? How can we prevent that from happening to ourselves?
  5. In John 8:24 Jesus spoke about “dying in one’s sin”, What are your thoughts, fears, questions and resulting actions about his statement?
  6. In what ways do some people you know question Jesus’ claim to be “the light of the world”? What is Jesus’ response?
  7. Talk about the qualities of light as it is used to define the nature and ministry of Christ and Jesus’ disciples.

Learning Objectives

  • Jesus is the Messiah. Throughout the Old Testament light is one of the names of the Messiah (Psalm 27:1; 119:105; and Proverbs 6:23, Isaiah 9:2, 6; 42:6- 7; and 60:1-3).



  1. CR John 1:4-9, 3:19, 9:5, 12:35,46, 14:6; Isaiah 60:1-3
  2. Jesus being the Light is a primary theme in John’s record of the Gospel. Its an image that holds special significance to the Jews as the temple itself had an everlasting flame (Exodus 27:20,21). This is celebrated every Hanukkah. But this passage is spoken by Jesus during the Feast of Booths (Feast of Tabernacles) from the treasury in sight of the Court of Women (see images). As Alfred Edersheim (see: biography) (1825-1889) wrote (page 107-8): “The Ceremonies in the Court of the Women At the close of the first day of the feast the worshippers descended to the Court of the Women, where great preparations had been made. Four golden candelabras were there, each with four golden bowls, and against them rested four ladders; and four youths of priestly descent held, each a pitcher of oil, capable of holding one hundred and twenty log, from which they filled each bowl. The old, worn breeches and girdles of the priests served for wicks to these lamps. There was not a court in Jerusalem that was not lit up by the light of ‘the house of water-pouring.'” and continued… “The light shining out of the Temple into the darkness around, and lighting up every court in Jerusalem, must have been intended as a symbol not only of the Shechinah which once filled the Temple, but of that ‘great light’ which ‘the people that walked in darkness’ were to see, and which was to shine ‘upon them that dwell in the land of the shadow of death’ (Isa 9:2). May it not be, that such prophecies as Isaiah 9 and 60 were connected with this symbolism? At any rate, it seems most probable that Jesus had referred to this ceremony in the words spoken by Him in the Temple at that very Feast of Tabernacles: ‘I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life’ (John 8:12).” 
  3. CR: Luke 1:78-79, Psalm 18:28; Malachi 4:2; Acts 13:47
  4. The light we carry within ourselves is ignited by faith and justification and fueled by the ongoing process of sanctification through our devotion, worship, and service to God.  In all that we go through, God is doing a work within us, and as the light continues to burn, the light in the temple, we ourselves release the aroma of salvation to others. A perpetual reminder and and soothing balm that tells of God’s grace.
  5. See also Alfred Edersheim’s notes describing the Court of Women Page 13,14): “Court of the Women The Court of the Women obtained its name, not from its appropriation to the exclusive use of women, but because they were not allowed to proceed farther, except for sacrificial purposes. Indeed, this was probably the common place for worship, the females occupying, according to Jewish tradition, only a raised gallery along three sides of the court. This court covered a space upwards of 200 feet square. All around ran a simple colonnade, and within it, against the wall, the thirteen chests, or ‘trumpets,’ for charitable contributions were placed. These thirteen chests were narrow at the mouth and wide at the bottom, shaped like trumpets, whence their name. Their specific objects were carefully marked on them. Nine were for the receipt of what was legally due by worshippers; the other four for strictly voluntary gifts. Trumpets I and II were appropriated to the half-shekel Temple-tribute of the current and of the past year. Into Trumpet III those women who had to bring turtledoves for a burnt- and a sin-offering dropped their equivalent in money, which was daily taken out and a corresponding number of turtledoves offered. This not only saved the labour of so many separate sacrifices, but spared the modesty of those who might not wish to have the occasion or the circumstances of their offering to be publicly known. Into this trumpet Mary the mother of Jesus must have dropped the value of her offering (Luke 2:22,24) when the aged Simeon took the infant Saviour ‘in his arms, and blessed God.’ Trumpet IV similarly received the value of the offerings of young pigeons. In Trumpet V contributions for the wood used in the Temple; in Trumpet VI for the incense, and in Trumpet VII” for the golden vessels for the ministry were deposited. If a man had put aside a certain sum for a sin-offering, and any money was left over after its purchase, it was cast into Trumpet VIII. Similarly, Trumpets IX, X, XI, XII, and XIII were destined for what was left over from trespass-offerings, offerings of birds, the offering of the Nazarite, of the cleansed leper, and voluntary offerings. In all probability this space where the thirteen Trumpets were placed was the ‘treasury,’ where Jesus taught on that memorable Feast of Tabernacles (John 7 and 8; see specially 8:20). We can also understand how, from the peculiar and known destination of each of these thirteen ‘trumpets,’ the Lord could distinguish the contributions of the rich who cast in ‘of their abundance’ from that of the poor widow who of her ‘penury’ had given ‘all the living’ that she had (Mark 12:41; Luke 21:1). But there was also a special treasury-chamber, into which at certain times they carried the contents of the thirteen chests; and, besides, what was called ‘a chamber of the silent,’ where devout persons secretly deposited money, afterwards secretly employed for educating children of the pious poor. It is probably in ironical allusion to the form and name of these treasure-chests that the Lord, making use of the word ‘trumpet,’ describes the conduct of those who, in their almsgiving, sought glory from men as ‘sounding a trumpet’ before them (Matt 6:2)–that is, carrying before them, as it were, in full display one of these trumpet-shaped alms-boxes (literally called in the Talmud, ‘trumpets’), and, as it were, sounding it. * * The allusion is all the more pointed, when we bear in mind that each of these trumpets had a mark to tell its special object. It seems strange that this interpretation should not have occurred to any of the commentators, who have always found the allusion such a crux interpretum. An article in the Bible Educator has since substantially adopted this view, adding that trumpets were blown when the alms were collected. But for the latter statement there is no historical authority whatever, and it would contravene the religious spirit of the times.

By Greg Troxell

Disciple, entrepreneur and catalytic leader. Advocate of the sharing economy. Ministering to youth, new Christians, and equipping the saints. Developing the Emotivational practice. Founder of

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