“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12
As we continue our look at the “I Am” statements of Jesus, notice that He does not claim to be merely a Light but the Light of the World. The idea is the one and only Light. We see in this statement the implication that men individually and the world collectively are in a state of moral and spiritual darkness and that Jesus is the only one who can bring true spiritual enlightenment.
One way to consider the significance of this claim is to look at the impact the gospel of Christ has had on our world, an impact that those living in the West might not fully realize. Many of the things we take for granted are actually the direct result of Christ’s influence on the world.
Impact Of the Gospel
In his book, How Christianity Changed the World, historian Alvin J. Schmidt shows how the influence of the gospel on men and cultures produced an immeasurable amount of good, especially toward the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized in society.
Each chapter expounds on some aspect of light the gospel has brought into an otherwise dark world. Consider Professor Schmidt’s chapter titles, which outline the benefits brought into the world through the gospel: the Sanctification of Human Life; Christianity Elevates Sexual Morality; Women Receive Freedom and Dignity; Charity and Compassion: Their Christian Connection; Hospitals and Health Care: Their Christian Roots; Christianity’s Imprint on Education; Labor and Economic Freedom Dignified; Science: its Christian Connections; Liberty and Justice for All; Slavery Abolished: A Christian Achievement.
Once we realize the extent of the gospel’s influence on our world, the words of Jesus become all the more significant. But Jesus’ initial appeal is to men and women individually. He promises to those who find themselves groping in moral and spiritual darkness that they can be brought into the Light and thus walk through this world without stumbling into the various pits of sin that cripple and destroy lives.
Walk In the Light
I once walked in the darkness Jesus is referring to here. I spent my youth and some of my young adult life groping in the darkness of sexual immorality, alcohol and drug abuse, selfishness, hatred, pride, etc. I was on the fast track to destruction and totally in the dark regarding my true condition. Then I met Jesus. He turned on the lights, so to speak, and nothing has been the same since then. Everything is clear. I know why I’m here, I know how to live, and I know where I’m going. Jesus, the Light of the World, is leading the way.