When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’
Martin Luther called this announcement by Christ, “The language of presumption that stops all mouths.” Luther is right. One must stop and take heed of the word of Christ here and the authority of his teaching. The theologian Thomas C. Oden says of the “I am” statements in John’s Gospel:
Jesus did not teach as the prophets taught when they pointed beyond themselves to the source of divine revelation. Rather he taught and spoke in the first person, as Yawheh had spoken in the form of “I am” in the Exodus account of deliverance.
Some simple points from this passage declare the divine nature of Jesus and his ability to save and lead his people out of destruction. Simply put, Jesus is God with us. Light is a symbol of his presence, but also his truth.
The command in this verse is clear. Do you want to feed off of spiritual darkness, death, and decay or would you rather live in the light and life of Christ? The prophet Micah announced, “When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me” (Mic 7:8).
The testimony of the saints and martyrs prove that following Christ is not easy. But for those who are looking for their circumstances and condition to change, there is nothing better than knowing and being transformed by Christ. If you need transformation, peace, and salvation, where are you looking in your life today? This passage makes this a critical question in anybody’s life.
“I am the light of the world” is a claim that God has come in human form to reveal the true purpose of humanity, and to lift humanity up in glory. Christ is transforming and restoring creation into his image. His light, life, sacrifice, and his resurrection from the grave point to his power and authority. There is a gospel song titled “Gloryland” that comes from the book of Revelation that explains just how bright the light of Christ shines.
In the eternal, the book of Revelation declares that there will be no need for a sun or moon because the Lord’s glory is the light that illuminates all. The old gospel song “Gloryland” says it well:
We’ll need no sun in Gloryland
The moon and stars won’t shine
For Christ Himself is light up there
He reigns of love divine.