12 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 (NLT)
Jesus was teaching in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacle, which is also called the ‘Feast of Booth’ when He made this bold statement in the presence of the Pharisees. During this time of feast the Israelites were to build tents and sleep in them for seven days outside. The Feast of Tabernacle was celebrated once a year and the Israelites were forbidden to work during this celebration. This celebration was to commemorate the Israelites wilderness journey.
On the first night of Tabernacles and apparently on each night of the feast except on Sabbath, the worshipers awaited the signal of the special lighting of the festive golden lamps of Tabernacles in the court of women. The lamps were intended to remind worshipers of God’s leading the people of Israel through the wilderness at night by a pillar of fire. The lighting of lamps also signaled Israel’s re-commitment to the God of light.
During Jesus’ three years of ministry on this earth, He was involved in many confrontations with the Pharisees and Sadducees because He went against many of their traditional rules and belief. They saw Him as a trouble maker and a child of the Devil. They were focusing on the past with what the lighting of the lamps symbolized, while He was trying to let them understand that He was the God of Light and the Light of the world.
The Messiah that their Scripture talked about who was to come was right in-front of them and they were blind to it. The Light that David mentioned in Psalm 27:1 was in-front of them but they were still in the dark. The Light who came into the world to illuminate it was in-front of them but they were blind to His Light. The Light who was shining in the hearts of those He encounter was in-front of them but their hearts were still in darkness.
The point here is to not be like the Pharisees, living in darkness when The Light is present. The Lord wants each of us as Christian to be beaming with His Light. When we have The Light within us, He will shine in our hearts and the world will be able to see the Light within us. Our Light should be shining in such a way that when we are around darkness (sinners), that darkness should be subjected to the Light within us. We should never forget or lose track of who we are and whose we are. We are the light of the world because we have Jesus living within us and we are children of The Light.
Missionary Judith Gilzene Moodie
Borchert, Gerald L. 1996. The New American Commentary, John 1-11