Jesus The Light of the World - John 8:12-59

Expositions by H. A. Wilson

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


Memory Verse — John 8:32, 36

The passage which we study in this lesson opens with a clear testimony to the light-giving power of Jesus. This is followed by Jesus' teaching on some of the most important truths concerning His Person and work, and His relation to men. In these teachings our souls and minds are enlightened, and we are given a practical demonstration of the truth which is first stated.


John 8:12-20

Jesus is truly the light of the world. He has shown us all we know about God, for He is the revelator of the Father. He has brought to light all we know about spiritual truths, and in Him all such truths find their consummation. A clear illustration of this may be found in a natural phenomenon which is familiar to all of us. The sun, which God placed in the heavens as a picture of His Son, Jesus, is the source of all the light this world receives. Our two principal sources of light are the sun and the moon. In the one case direct light, and in the other reflected, but both are the light of the sun. Other sources of light are candles, oil lamps, gas lights, and electric lights. Candles are composed of two materials, a cotton wick, and tallow, or paraffin. The cotton of which the candle-wick is made grows by the action of the sun's rays, and the sheep or other animal from which the tallow comes could not live without the light of the sun, or without the food which the sun prepares in the herbs which grow by its rays. The paraffin is a by-product of oil refining. Petroleum is believed to be produced from decomposing organic matter, which of course depended largely upon the sun for its existence. Gas comes from coal, or is formed naturally in the same process which produces petroleum. The coal originated in tropical forests which owed their life and existence to the sun. Electricity is produced either by steam power, or by water power, and in either case by the rays of the sun. If steam power is employed, this is produced by burning coal, which in turn came from the sun. If water power is used, that can be traced to the sun, for it was the sun which drew the water up in clouds, thus making possible its precipitation in the highlands, and its running down the channels from which it is taken to run the dynamo. The only other source from which light is commonly obtained is calcium carbide, which, when acted upon by water, gives off acetylene gas. This is produced, in its commercial form, from lime and coal, and by means of the electric furnace. Lime is prepared by heat. so both the ingredients used and the power operative in the production of this chemical can be traced again to the sun. In these facts lies a tremendous lesson. If the sun is the source of this world's light, whence came the sun? We are reminded that it came directly from the hand of God, and that it is held in its place by His power. Jesus is the One by Whom all things "consist" or hold together, so He is the true source of all physical light, as He is of all spiritual light. How staggeringly true it is that Jesus is the light of the world. Col. 1:17; II Cor. 4:6; II Tim. 1:10; Rev. 22:5; Rev. 21:23.


John 8:21-30.

The Jews could not receive the great truth that Jesus was the light of the world. That left no room for their pride in their intellect and in their ancestry. Those proud Pharisees realized that to accept this teaching would wreck their pretenses to superior knowledge and authority in spiritual matters, so they rejected it. But Jesus showed them how pitifully ignorant they were after all. He told them of His coming ascension into heaven. He spoke of the death He should die, — "lifted up" upon the Cross. He implied His resurrection. These things were as yet mysteries to the Pharisees, though it was only a short time until they should join with the infuriated throng in the cry, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" Jesus showed His foreknowledge of these events, but He showed something even more striking than this. He gave evidence of a spiritual knowledge and insight which far surpassed that of the religious leaders of Israel, for when He spoke of His ascension into the presence of God, and told the Pharisees that they could not come whither He went, they did not even know the place, much less the way. Because of their spiritual blindness and ignorance He was compelled to with-hold many things from them which they would not receive. Jno. 3:3; Jno. 3:19-21; Jno. 14:6; I Cor. 2:14; 11 Cor. 4:4.


John 8:31-32.

But others among the throng believed in Him. To these Jesus spoke words of encouragement and admonition. He gave them one of the clearest definitions of true discipleship, and one of the richest promises to be found in the pages of God's Word. "If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." This does not mean that their salvation depended upon their holding out, as some would have us to believe. A disciple is a follower. For a believer to truly follow Jesus he must indeed continue in His Word, wherefore God says, "Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ." As one continues in His Word, meditating in it, and seeking to apply it to his life he learns to know the truth, and finds that it has wonderful liberating power. True disciples continue in His Word, though one may truly be a believer and a child of God even though he fails to follow. If one believes in Jesus he is saved, and nothing can alter that fact, but all believers should also be disciples by continuing in the Word of the Lord. Jno. 6:37; Jno. 3:36; Matt. 4:19; Jno. 15:5; Psa. 119:9; II Tim. 2:15.


John 8:33-47.

The unbelieving Pharisees in the throng did not realize that Jesus had spoken to the Jesus who had believed in Him, and thought He was still talking to them, so they objected to His statement. "They answered Him, 'We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou. Ye shall be made free?'" This question was not asked by the believing Jews, but by the unbelieving Pharisees. Jesus administered a stinging rebuke to them, in unmistakable terms. He convicted them of their sin in desiring to kill Him. He showed them that though they were children of Abraham in the flesh, their hearts were utterly destitute of the faith of Abraham. He rebuked their claim to natural divinity, and informed them that they were of their father, the Devil. Ah! How proud and presumptuous the natural man is! "But God seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart." The unbeliever is dead in his trespasses and sins. He is naturally the child of God's arch-enemy the Devil He needs to be born again. Rom. 3:23;' Rom. 6:23; Isa. 64:6; I Sam. 16:7; Heb. 4:12; Eph. 2:1.


John 8:48-59.

But though Jesus must rebuke sin and unbelief, still He longs to save the sinner. In these verses He offers life to those whom He has just convicted of sin. "If a man keen my saying, he shall never taste of death." To some this sounds like salvation by works, but not so. For a man to keep the sayings of Jesus, is for him to recognize himself as an undone, hell-doomed sinner, unable to keep the Law, or to do anything which will commend him to God. It is for him to believe in God's gracious offering of His Son upon the Cross at Calvary, and to accept Him Who died thereon as his personal Saviour. The one who keeps the sayings of Jesus is the one who accepts Him. Such an one shall live forever, for the word of Jesus is: "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." That is sufficient to save any soul. Jno. 3:16; Jno. 6:37.

The Pharisees realized that only God could make such an offer, and asked, "Who makest thou thyself?" Ah! Well might they ask this question, for Jesus truly was God, for the implication contained in His offer was true. However, He did not stop with mere implication but plainly declared His Deity: "Before Abraham was  I am." Yes, Jesus is God, and as God He seeks to save lost and blinded souls. Jno.3:16; Heb. 2:9; II Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17.