daily Broadcast

The Light of the World

From the series Jesus Is...

With all the hatred, animosity, and violence going on all around the world, it’s safe to say we live in a dark time. But in this program, guest teacher Ryan Ingram has a much-needed message of encouragement for us as he continues our series, Jesus Is. As he teaches from John chapter 8, Ryan will reveal how Christ is a powerful light of hope, love, and peace to this lost world.

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Message Transcript

There’s something about the dark, isn’t there? I mean, growing up maybe you, like me, were scared of the dark. It’s disorienting, stumbling, it’s hard to navigate. And when we look at the world around us and we see the events on the news and we just look at how people are acting around us, it’s easy to look at it and go, “Man, the world is pretty dark,” right?

How do we navigate the darkness of the world around us?And I think even a deeper and bigger question is what do I do with the darkness within me?

We have been looking at Jesus’ “I Am” statements in the gospel of John where He’s declaring who He is. And in the second “I Am” statement, Jesus has this line that is so powerful, so clarifying. And if it’s true, filled with immense hope.

And He says this, declaration, “I am the light of the world.” “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Like, what do you do with the darkness of this world? What do you do with the darkness that’s within? Jesus is saying: Guess what, light has dawned and I’ve shown up on the scene. I am here to expel the darkness.

You know, when we read Jesus’ teachings and we study, we often miss when He is saying things and where He’s saying them. We miss those because we read it and we’re not familiar with the Jewish context or the Jewish calendar and some of these sort of things.

It was the Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, or Booths when He made this statement. Now, the Feast of Tabernacles celebrates and remembers God’s provision for the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness. And what they would do for seven days is literally every Jewish family, they would build a hut or a booth. We would call it a tent.

And they would live outside for seven days and they would rehearse the wilderness together and they would remember God’s provision in the wilderness and the dry land, God’s provision of water through the rock in the wilderness, and the dryness of the desert land.

And then they would remember that God provided for them and you can read this in Exodus 13, verse 21. He provided direction for them through a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

Now, that’s what was happening when Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” But this is where He said it. It gets even better.

He actually said it in the area known as the Court of Women. And I got a little slide, it’s actually in the Temple of God - here for you - the Jewish Temple. It had multiple courts and each court was a different level of access. And so, the outer court was the Court of Gentiles.

And then you would actually go up into the temple and you would, the first area then would be the Court of Women. And this was where the treasury was and the tithes and offerings would be given. There would be twelve huge horns. They were called horns, because they were shaped like a horn. They were gold and where you would throw your treasury or your gifts into. And this was the Court of Women, and this was as far as women could go in the Jewish Temple unless they were offering a sacrifice.

And then you had the inner place, the Holy of Holies and the Court of Priests and the, all of those areas. So, Jesus is in the Court of Women. Now, here’s what was happening during the Feast of Sukkot or Tabernacle. On the very first day of the Feast of Sukkot, they would build these huge, you know, stands in the Court of Women so that everybody could come in and participate and be a part of this.

They would build these stands and they would put four massive candelabras in there and they would light – the minute it got to dusk and evening they would light these candelabras and it lit such a brilliant flame that it lit up the entire – all of the courts were completely lit up. And it’s here in that court with that light that Jesus then declares, “I am the light of the world.”

You see those lights up there? Those candelabras? They are bright and they are amazing, they are brilliant. That’s fantastic. By the way, they are going to go out, they are going to be taken down. I am the light that never extinguishes. I am the light of the world.

The first thing I want you to notice about Jesus’ statement about who Jesus is is that Jesus is not one of many lights in the world.

Here's what I want you to realize. Jesus’ claim is exclusive. It’s not popular right now. It’s exclusive. There is one light and it’s inclusive. “I am the light.” But who is the light for? Read it up there and it’s in yellow; you don’t have to guess. The world. For every single person on the planet, which was not even in the minds and thoughts of the ancient day people, it was prophesied through the prophecies in the Jewish Scriptures that there would be this Messianic light, this light, this person that would come that would be a light even for the Gentiles.

But you know what? Your gods protected you and was just for you. And Jesus says: No, I am for everyone. I am for everyone. Yeah, there’s only one light here, but My light isn’t just for the right people, the perfect people, the religious people. I am for every single person.

So, what does light do? Let me give you just three things that light does.

The first is light reveals. Light does two things. It illuminates truth or reality and it exposes what was dark and hidden. Light allows us to see things as they really are. And then it exposes the darkness, the lies, and the falsehood. Oh, we need this today. Christians, you need this today. Where instead of looking for something else to reveal truth, you look to Jesus and go, “You’re the light of the world. Only You can illuminate my life and show me reality,” instead of letting everything else and everyone else define reality. The first thing it does is light reveals.

The second thing it does is light guides. Light guides. One of the concepts for light in the Jewish tradition was the idea that light, the Torah or the Word of God, was light. That it guides and it directs, right? Psalm 119 says, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet.”

You’ve got lots of people with good-hearted advice. But He says, “I am the one who will guide you.” Light reveals; light guides.

And then light brings life. I was going to say, “Light grows,” but things grow even without it. But light is necessary for life. And the reality is nothing good grows in the dark, does it? Can you think about anything good that grows in the dark? Yeah, it’s a fungi. And the truth is, in your life, nothing good grows in the dark.

Who or what are you looking to to bring light, to bring guidance, to bring life to your life?

And so, only Jesus can dispel the darkness and the chaos in your life. Only Jesus. If this statement is true, it is so powerful and so wonderful and so hope-filled. Only Jesus. And what good news because then you don’t have to search and run after so many things hoping this thing will work. Only Jesus will dispel the darkness and the chaos, the emptiness, the loneliness, the generational sin, the secret life that you have within. Those evil thoughts, the brokenness in you in relationships, your need to control, need to measure up, to prove your worth, to manipulate others, to get what you want, have your way. Only Jesus can dispel the darkness and the chaos.

And I love this, His next line, He says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever,” open invitation, “whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness.”

Never be stumbling around, groping around, trying to wonder and hope and figure it out. Now, this picture for the early followers of Jesus really became a significant picture. And as you read through the New Testament, you’ll see it. This living in darkness and walking in the light. And the apostle Paul picks this picture up in Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 8. And he says, “For,” notice this, this is so incredible, “for once you were darkness.” Not just in darkness, you were darkness. Like, the state of your soul was darkness. “But now you are light,” how? “…in the Lord.” Like, your position, your standing is in the Lord.

And because you’re in the Lord, because you’re in Christ Jesus, you are now light. It is your standing, not because of something that is of you, but He is the light. Then it says, “Live,” and right above “live,” would you write the word “walk”? It’s the Greek word for walk. “Walk as children of the light.”

So, I can be in the light, but not walking in the light. You catch that? Because I think that’s where a lot of followers of Jesus are. We are in the light, we have placed our faith in Him, but we are not following Him. There’s a big difference. I have put my faith in You, I believe in You, and I have my fire insurance so, hello, when I die heaven here I go. But I am not following You, I am not walking in the light. And you are wondering where the chaos and the darkness inside and why Jesus isn’t working, walk in the light.

Friend, walk in the light. “Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness.” “Live as children of the light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),” don’t you want that a part of your life? “…and find out what pleases the Lord.”

If I’m following You, I just want to please You. “Having nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It’s shameful even to mention it,” although he did above this verse, previous to this. “…what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. That is why it says, ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’”

Jesus is the light that prevails over the darkness of the world. He says, “Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

See, we don’t actually think Jesus is going to be the light that prevails over the darkness of the world. In our culture, we think technology is. What we need is more technology. Right? Technology. You know that when the first, like, computers were being introduced in the workplace, the idea was to cut your workload in half so you worked less? You laugh now, because what did it do? It increased your work. And then now you carry it everywhere. Is it light and life or is it soul-sucking? I don’t know. You tell me.

But we think technology will. We think, no, if we just need more education. Friends, I’ve got news for you, we have more technology, we have more education, and we have more darkness in our world.

It’s time for followers of Jesus to actually believe this. To go, “No, only Jesus will prevail over the darkness of this world.” And throughout Scripture you see this juxtaposition, the light of life and the shadow of death. That fundamentally, we live in a land that is the shadow of death.

Light doesn’t cast shadows, by the way. Objects do. And what has cast a shadow over humanity is death. Prophesied, Isaiah, of this Messianic one who would come, he says, “The people walking in the darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.” The light of the world stepped into darkness, took on the shadow that has cast over us, despair and hopelessness, death in relationships and death ultimately and took on death itself, rose again.

In this line, the light of life, is this Messianic hope and eschatological hope that Jesus not only has conquered death now, but He will return and restore and He will make all things right. You can be confident that a better tomorrow awaits because of the resurrection of Jesus. And so, we as followers of Jesus are to be the most hope-filled, light-filled people in the midst of the darkest moments.

Here’s the question. What do we do with the darkness right now? What about all the darkness around your workplace, all the darkness around your neighborhood? Jesus had this great line: “I’m the light of the world.” And then He looks at His followers. It says, “Until I return and I restore and make all things right, you are the light of the world.”

Jesus is the light of the world that dispels the darkness and He placed you here to be light in this city. What if He has placed you at your workplace on purpose? What if the feeling like you are the only one who knows Jesus in your workplace and everybody is against you is actually something beautiful because you are a light and what happens is you don’t need a whole lot of light in a dark place. The minute you turn on the light, boom! You get to see. And He has placed you there to bring truth and grace and love and hope and life.