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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Elson

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, “I am the Light of the World?”

This statement Jesus made in John 8:12 is one of seven “I AM” declarations in the book of John.

Let’s take a look at the verse in John 8:12: 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.” Jesus here is using allegory, a literary device that uses symbols to explain an idea or concept. Being at the temple early in the morning, perhaps when the sun was rising (see John 8:2), Jesus uses light to explain what he means. Jesus is saying that he is the one that illuminates, and brings us to understand our actual spiritual condition. He makes visible and reveals to us, that we walk in spiritual darkness outside of him. That is why he goes on to say, “If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness because you have the light that leads to life.”

As we take candlelight to a dark room to light it up and show us what is in it, Jesus does that in our lives. His light shines into our lives to reveal where our heart is. Those who believe and follow him gravitate to the spiritual things, those who are unbelievers do just the opposite and move away from the light because light exposes the darkness. The question remains then, what side are you on? Only you can answer that.

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