Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12
Scripture reading: John 8:12-30
When Jesus says that He is the light of the world in John 8, there are all sorts of things we can learn from His words. He is speaking of His identity as being from the Father, the words “I am” speaks of His divine identity. He is speaking of being the answer to what the world needs, as light dawning in darkness. He is calling people to follow Him as the way of light, like wisdom in the book of Proverbs.
Among all those things He is doing, He is also connecting His identity with Israel’s story. God had called Israel to be a light to the nations, and promised the day when that calling would be fulfilled:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Is. 49:6).
When Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World,” He was declaring the fulfillment of that promise. Israel was called to be a light to the nations, but failed at that calling, ultimately going into exile because of her idolatry. But during the exile, God repeatedly promised that Israel’s calling would be restored. In Jesus, that happened. He is the true Son of Abraham, the true and faithful Israelite.
Suggestions for prayer
Praise God for Jesus as the light of the nations, the reason we have received light, the announcement of God’s faithfulness and the One in Whom we receive our calling to be a light to the nations today.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Nick Smith is pastor of the United Reformed Church of Nampa, Idaho.