Study Series: Gospel of John – The Seven Great Claims of Jesus
Study 2 – I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)
Beginning in Genesis 1 with the creation account, we see that “darkness hovered over the
face of the deep.” The very first thing that God does (and remember from John 1 that Jesus
was with God at creation and was (and is) God) is to speak light into being. You see, light
must come before life. And light is necessary to life being sustained. By the way, this point
introduces a principle of Bible study called ‘the law of first mention.’ When you are studying
biblical themes look out for their first mention in the Bible, such as this first mention of light
in Genesis 1. While I don’t want to drive this point too hard, it is true that the first mention
of a topic in scripture provides us with a foundation – a springboard if you like – from which
to develop or move forward. Many who encourage this ‘first mention’ principle say that our
subsequent interpretation of a scriptural topic should be faithful to, and be anchored in, the
truths found at its first mention.
This connection between light and life carries forward to John 1, where we are told (v3) “All
things were made through Him (Jesus), and without Him nothing was made that was made.
In Him was life (yes, that word again - zoe – abundant, teeming life in all its fullness,
including spiritual life) and the life was the light of men. And the light shines into the
darkness and the darkness did not comprehend (or overcome) it. Where God is (and God is
light – 1 John 1:5), darkness cannot abide.
When Jesus, then, talks about being light, He again associates himself with being God. The
statement “I am the Light of the world” carries two associations: 1) of being Yahweh (I AM)
– the covenant God of Israel – and 2) more generally, God who is light.
Now, as I said early on in the introductory video clip, if what Jesus says here is true (I AM the
Light of the world) then we have to do something with that truth. This (and the other I AM
claims) being true, Jesus must be much more than just a good man, or even a prophet.
Sensibly, we have to agree with John (20:31) that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the
Anointed One promised and foretold by scripture), the Son of God. And that fact requires
much more than our mental assent, doesn’t it? If Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ, then
what will each of us do with that fact?
John’s hope, and mine, is that if you don’t yet know Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour,
then you will come to believe and have life in His name.
1. Please study the scriptures mentioned here in more detail. They are Genesis 1:1-3,
John 1:3-5, 1 John 1:5, John 20:31 and our key scripture John 8:12.
2. If you are a Christian, what is the significance of Jesus being Light of the world for
you NOW? What is your role in bringing others to that light? How does that light
dwell in and shine out of you?
3. Again, if you are a Christian and the light of Christ dwells in you, what does it mean
that the darkness cannot comprehend or overcome the light?
4. If you are not yet a Christian, what do you make of this statement of Jesus? I AM the
Light of the world. Do you consider it to be true? If so, to what conclusion does this
truth lead you?