Then spake Jesus again unto them - Allowing the story about the woman taken in adultery to be authentic, and to stand here in its proper place, we may consider that our Lord, having begun to teach the people in the temple, was interrupted by the introduction of this woman by the scribes and Pharisees; and now, having dismissed them and the woman also, he resumes his discourse.
I am the light of the world - The fountain whence an intellectual light and spiritual understanding proceed: without me all is darkness, misery, and death. The Divine Being was, by the rabbins denominated, The light of the world. So in Bamidbar Rabba: "The Israelites said to God, O Lord of the universe, thou commandest us to light lamps to thee, yet thou art The Light of The World: and with thee the light dwelleth." Our Lord, therefore, assumes here a well known character of the Supreme Being; and with this we find the Jews were greatly offended.
Shall not walk in darkness - He shall be saved from ignorance, infidelity, and sin. If he follow me, become my disciple, and believe on my name, he shall have my Spirit to bear witness with his, that he is a child of God. He shall have the light of life - such a light as brings and supports life. The sun, the fountain of light, is also the fountain of life: by his vivifying influences, all things live - neither animal nor vegetative life could exist, were it not for his influence. Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, Malachi 4:2, is the fountain of all spiritual and eternal Life. His light brings life with it, and they who walk in his light live in his life. This sentiment is beautifully expressed and illustrated in the following inimitable verse (all monosyllables except one word) of that second Spenser, Phineas Fletcher. Speaking of the conversion of a soul to God, he says: -
"New Light new Love, new Love new Life hath bred;
A Life that lives by Love, and loves by Light:
A Love to him, to whom all Loves are wed;
A Light, to whom the sun is darkest night:
Eye's Light, heart's Love, soul's only Life he is:
Life, soul, love, heart, Light, eye, and all are his:
He eye, Light, heart, Love, soul; He all my joy and bliss."
Purple Island, Can. I. v. 7.
Some suppose our Lord alludes to the custom of lighting lamps or torches, on the first day of the feast of tabernacles. But as these words seem to have been spoken the day after that last and great day of the feast, mentioned John 7:37, they may rather be considered as referring to the following custom: It has already been observed, that the Jews added a ninth day to this feast, which day they termed, The feast of joy for the law; and on that day they were accustomed to take all the sacred books out of the chest where they had been deposited, and put a lighted candle in their place, in allusion to Proverbs 6:23; : For the commandment is a Lamp (or Candle) and the law is life: or to Psalm 119:105; : Thy word is a Lamp unto my feet, and a Light unto my path. If this custom existed in the time of our Lord, it is most likely that it is to it he here alludes; as it must have happened about the same time in which these words were spoken. See Buxtorf. Synagog. Jud. c. xxi.
As the Messiah was frequently spoken of by the prophets under the emblem of light, see Isaiah 60:1; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 9:2, the Pharisees must at once perceive that he intended to recommend himself to the people as the Messiah, when he said, I am the light of the world.
The rabbins think that the Messiah is intended in Genesis 1:8, And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. "From this we may learn that the holy and blessed God saw the light of the Messiah and his works before the world was created; and reserved it for the Messiah, and his generation, under the throne of his glory. Satan said to the holy and blessed God, For whom dost thou reserve that light which is under the throne of thy glory? God answered: For him who shall subdue thee, and overwhelm thee with confusion. Satan rejoined, Lord of the universe, show that person to me! God said, Come and see him. When he saw him, he was greatly agitated, and fell upon his face, saying, Truly this is the Messiah, who shall cast me and idolaters into hell." Yalcut Rubeni, fol. 6. This is a very remarkable saying; and, as it might have existed in the time of our Lord, to it he might have alluded in the verse before us. The thing itself is true: the Messiah is the light of the world, and by him Satan's empire of idolatry is destroyed in the world, and the kingdom of light and life established. See several similar testimonies in Schoettgen.
“Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. He whose body is the temple of the Holy Spirit will not be enslaved by a pernicious habit. His powers belong to Christ, who has bought him with the price of blood. His property is the Lord's. How could he be guiltless in squandering this entrusted capital? Professed Christians yearly expend an immense sum upon useless and pernicious indulgences, while souls are perishing for the word of life. God is robbed in tithes and offerings, while they consume upon the altar of destroying lust more than they give to relieve the poor or for the support of the gospel. If all who profess to be followers of Christ were truly sanctified, their means, instead of being spent for needless and even hurtful indulgences, would be turned into the Lord's treasury, and Christians would set an example of temperance, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. Then they would be the light of the world. GC 475.1
The world is given up to self-indulgence. “The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” control the masses of the people. But Christ's followers have a holier calling. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean.” In the light of God's word we are justified in declaring that sanctification cannot be genuine which does not work this utter renunciation of the sinful pursuits and gratifications of the world. GC 475.2
To those who comply with the conditions, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, ... and touch not the unclean,” God's promise is, “I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18. It is the privilege and the duty of every Christian to have a rich and abundant experience in the things of God. “I am the light of the world,” said Jesus. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. Every step of faith and obedience brings the soul into closer connection with the Light of the world, in whom there “is no darkness at all.” The bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shine upon the servants of God, and they are to reflect His rays. As the stars tell us that there is a great light in heaven with whose glory they are made bright, so Christians are to make it manifest that there is a God on the throne of the universe whose character is worthy of praise and imitation. The graces of His Spirit, the purity and holiness of His character, will be manifest in His witnesses. GC 475.3Read in context »
The period of great spiritual light, if that light is not sacredly cherished and acted upon, will be turned into a time of corresponding spiritual darkness. The impression made by the Spirit of God, if men do not cherish the sacred impression, and occupy holy ground, will fade from the mind. Those who would advance in spiritual knowledge must stand by the very fount of God, and drink again and again from the wells of salvation so graciously opened unto them. They must never leave the source of refreshment; but with hearts swelling with gratitude and love at the display of the goodness and compassion of God, they must be continually partakers of the living water. 1SM 135.1
Oh, how much this means to every soul—“I am the light of the world”; “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger [for anything more satisfying]; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 8:12; 6:35). To come to this condition means that you have found the Source of light and love, and have learned when and how you may be replenished, and may make use of the promises of God by continually applying them to your souls. 1SM 135.2
“But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not” (John 6:36). This has been literally fulfilled in the cases of many; for the Lord gave them a deeper insight into truth, into His character of mercy and compassion and love; and yet after being thus enlightened, they have turned from Him in unbelief. They saw the deep movings of the Spirit of God; but when the insidious temptations of Satan came in, as they always will come after a season of revival, they did not resist unto blood, striving against sin; and those who might have stood on vantage ground, had they made a right use of the precious enlightenment that they had, were overcome by the enemy. They should have reflected the light that God gave to them upon the souls of others; they should have worked and acted in harmony with the sacred revealings of the Holy Spirit; and in not doing so, they suffered loss. 1SM 135.3Read in context »
This is Jesus, the life of every grace, the life of every promise, the life of every ordinance, the life of every blessing. Jesus is the substance, the glory and fragrance, the very life itself. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Then the royal path cast up the ransomed to walk in is not discouraging darkness. Our pilgrimage would indeed be lonely and painful were it not for Jesus. “I will not,” He says, “leave you comfortless” (John 14:18). Then let us gather every registered promise. Let us repeat them by day and meditate upon them in the night season, and be happy. 2SM 244.1
“And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise Thee: though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for He hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee” (Isaiah 12:1-6). 2SM 244.2Read in context »