Knowing God and John’s Gospel (4)

Jesus said to the crowd, “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).

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Jesus, being middle-eastern, was darker-skinned; but he welcomed all sorts of people and taught them.

Jesus has some exchanges with the crowd in John 7 but makes an amazing claim in John 8 that is quoted above. He claims to be the light of the world. This statement is one of his “I AM” sentences that claim to be the God of the burning bush, whose name is “I AM THAT I AM,” the God who uses Moses to free Israel from slavery in Egypt.

Obviously, God has placed the earth at exactly the right distance from the sun, which is the physical light of the world. As with Jesus’ other “I AM” claims, he says that he is the true God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the one God who lights up the world with life (John 1), both physical and spiritual, the latter to transform true believers.  

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Jesus has his physical, resurrected, human body in heaven. Thus, he has the world in his hands.

Then, the God-man Jesus heals a man who has been blind since his birth in John 9. The creative power that it took to reconstruct the man’s eyes came only from God in the Person of Jesus. The belief that God also created in that man is contrasted with the unbelief of the Pharisees, who claim to see but do not trust in God. 

John’s gospel uses the word “glory,” which means God’s divine brightness to describe Jesus’ death on the Roman torture tool. Why? He means that, like the above painting, Jesus’ death brought God’s light into his followers’ lives to free us from the darkness of unbelief like the man who was blind from birth before he saw.  

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