Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." John 8:12
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:19-21
Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark." John 12:44-46
But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:13-17
We have been looking at the story of the adulterous woman this week. It was suggested that we look at the story as if it were taking place in a theater setting. The crowd is the audience and on stage are Jesus, the adulterous woman, and her accusers. At the conclusion of the story, it is just the woman and Jesus on stage. At the very end Jesus says to the woman, "Go and sin no more.” The story is over, and Jesus is alone (stage) with the crowd (audience). Of course, this was not a play but a real time, live incident with an abundance of onlookers.
Jesus has the opportunity to talk to the crowd about what just took place and the John 8:12 verse above is what he chose to say to them: “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the
light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’" If you were in charge of what Jesus would say to the crowd after such an incident, what would you come up with? Jesus' words cover everything that just happened. They encompass every person on the scene throughout the drama. And they go right to the central need of all of humanity.
Even though the incident took place in the morning, it was a very dark scene at the outset. The scribes and Pharisees who captured, brought, and set the woman before Jesus were in darkness because of their lifestyle of religious self-righteousness. They not only don't think they need Jesus, but they are trying to destroy him. The adulterous woman was in darkness because in her lifestyle of loose worldly living she thinks she is beyond his love and acceptance. If we look at the progression of this incident as the increasing impact of light on darkness, we can see how appropriate it is for Jesus to say to the crowd, "I am the light of the world."
For the scribes and Pharisees, the light exposes them for the hypocrites they are. For the adulterous woman, the light reveals the path that will release her from her past and allow her to go forward as a changed person into the fullness of God's very best. So, in reality Jesus just says in words what he has just declared loud and clear to the crowd through all that just happened in the preceding incident: "I am the light of the world." And now Jesus talks to the crowd about following him. He says to the crowd, "If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness."
Jesus wants everyone to understand what "darkness" is: (1) it is thinking you can live in a way that earns God's love and acceptance, or (2) it is thinking you have lived in a way that prohibits God's love and acceptance. Jesus not only tells the crowd that they don't have to walk in darkness if they follow him, but he says that if they do follow him, "you will have the light that leads to life." The light reveals that there is absolutely nothing that earns or prohibits God's love and acceptance because God's love and acceptance is always and totally a matter of grace. One's
response to the darkness revealed by the light should be repentance and one's response to the light that revealed the darkness should be faith in Christ, the light of the world. If possible, read back through the verses above in the "light" of all the we have just covered.
Lord, I know that responding to the light is a very positive thing in the long run, but I confess that it can be a scary thing to deal with the darkness it exposes. Assure my heart that your dealings with me are always and totally an expression of your unconditional and unlimited love. I thank you for the light that brought me to you in the first place and I thank you for the light that shows me the ongoing changes you have in mind for me. Keep me fully in the center of your love and acceptance so that the transformation of my life happens in the best way possible. Amen!