John 8:12 – Jesus Christ, the Light of the World
SummaryJesus identifies himself as the light of the world that gives "the light of life" to whomever follows him.
AnalysisJesus says, "I am the light of the world." This is one of the seven "I am" sayings in John's Gospel. Since the expression "I am" recalls the name of God, who is the "I Am" (Exodus 3:14), these sayings emphasize that Jesus is God's Word in the flesh. The image of light occurs frequently in John's Gospel, identifying Jesus as a light coming into a darkened world (1:5; 3:19-21; 9:5; 12:35-36). Light has several dimensions. First, light was used for teachers, who enlightened people by instructing them. This is also true of Jesus, who teaches others and reveals the truth about God and people. Second, light is an image for God's servant or Messiah. As the light of the world, Jesus is the Messiah who fulfills God's promises (see Isaiah 9:1-6; 42:6). Third, light is an image for God's own self, and Jesus is God in the flesh (see Isaiah 60:1-2). Together, the image of light brings together several dimensions of Jesus' identity. In the scenes that follow, Jesus shows what it means for him to be the light by healing a man born blind. The man comes to see the light physically, through his healing, and he gradually comes to see the light of truth about Jesus as the Son of God (9:1-41).