I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
By John C. Carpenter
 
Some Scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in the sin of adultery. They said to the Lord, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:4-12). After Christ ministered unto this woman who had been caught in the sin of adultery, and whom the Jewish leaders wanted to stone, He said, I am the light of the world. What did Christ mean by this statement, and what does Christ being the light of the world have to do with the sin the woman had committed? In verse 12, the word "light" is translated from the Greek word "phos," which means "to shine upon, to make manifest, to reveal." When Christ said He was the light of the world, He could have just as easily said, "I am God the Father's manifestation and revelation to the world." What is the significance of this revelation of Christ to the world?
 
THE LIGHT OF THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF CHRIST
 
To the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote, Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light [illumination, revelation] of the glorious [magnificently apparent] gospel [good news or message] of Christ, who is the image [likeness, representation] of God, should shine[be revealed] unto them (2 Cor 4:1-4). Paul wrote to Timothy, Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his [God the Father's] own purpose and grace, which was[pre-ordained to be] given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest [to render apparent, to appear, to manifestly declare] by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through [because of] the gospel [euaggelion; i.e., a good message, the gospel] (2 Tim 1:8-10). Before the world began, God the Father saved and calledall believers in Christ with a holy calling, not according to our own works or effort, but according to His own purpose and grace. This purpose and grace was manifested, was made apparent, was made possible, by the appearance on earth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who, with His appearance, abolished death, and made visible the possibility of eternal life and immortality. Since we know that the "light" is the "glorious gospel of Christ," what is the "gospel?"
 
I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY
 
Holy Scriptures instruct us, And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings [euaggelizo; i.e., good news] of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David [Bethlehem] a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:1-11). In verse 10, "good news" [gospel] is translated from the Greek word "euaggelizo," which means "a good message, to announce good news, to bring or declare glad tidings." This "gospel," or good news, made available "to all people," is that "unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." The gospel, or good news, is that Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, was born in Bethlehem. Each year, Christians around the world recognize and celebrate this "gospel," or good news, as the annual holiday of Christmas. But this was only the beginning of the good news about Christ. Scriptures also instruct us that From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (Mat 16:21). Also referring to the suffering of Christ, the apostle Peter wrote, For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1 Pet 3:18). Scriptures also tell us. ...when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take (Mark 15:24). The apostle Paul explained additional aspects of the gospel of Christ to those in Corinth when he wrote, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel [euaggelion; i.e., a good message, the gospel] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor 15:1-4). Paul explained to those in Rome that Christ Who was delivered[unto death by crucifixion] for our offences, and was raised again [resurrected to new life] for our justification (Rom 4:25). The complete gospel message is that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, suffered, was crucified, died to pay the penalty for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day so that we might be justified before God the Father. The only requirement is to believe this gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
THEY HAVE NOT ALL OBEYED THE GOSPEL
 
Not all individuals respond to the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. After explaining that salvation is the result of faith, and faith results from hearing the preaching of the gospel of Christ by those who are sent to preach by the Holy Spirit (Rom 10:1-15), the apostle Paul wrote, ...How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel [good news] of peace [with God the Father], and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed [responded to, believed] the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report [about the gospel of Christ]? (Rom 10:15-16). Despite seeing Christ personally and physically, the Lord knew that many would still not believe on Him when He said, While ye have light [revelation of Jesus Christ], believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him [as the Christ and Son of God] (John 12:36-37). Sadly, many, Jews and Gentiles alike, saw the revelation of Christ to the world (Mat 1:23), but refused to believe in Him as the Christ, Messiah, and Son of God. Scriptures instruct us that Christ came unto his own [the Jews], and his own received him not (John 1:11), and they [Israel] could not enter in [to God's rest from works of the law] because of unbelief[in Christ] (Heb 3:19). Israel not only rejected Christ, but it hated Christ without a cause (John 15:25). Paul related to us the outcome of Israel's unbelief when he wrote, For unto us was the gospel [of Christ] preached, as well as unto them [Israel]: but the[gospel] word [of salvation through faith in Christ] preached [to them] did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Heb 4:2). Christ also said the Jews were making the [gospel] word of God of none effect through[because of] your tradition... (Mark 7:13). Israel preferred to maintain the traditions of Judaism rather than have faith in Christ, and as a result, the gospel could not have an effect, Christ could not save the nation of Israel from punishment for its sins. Immediately after Jesus gave the parable of the sower to the multitudes, Jesus' disciples came and asked Him, ...Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know [perceive and understand] the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath [eyes to perceive and ears to understand], to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing [with their physical eyes] see not [do not perceive spiritually]; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted [epistrepho; i.e., revert, come again, return, turn about] and I should heal [make whole, restore to God the Father] them (Mat 13:10-15). In these verses, when Christ refers to those that are "seeing, but see not," He is referring to those who have seen Christ personally with their own eyes, but who do not perceive spiritually that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. When Christ refers to those who are "hearing, but hear not," He is referring to those who have heard with their own physical ears the gospel word of Christ, but who do not understand that gospel word. Christ also explains that the individual who sees with the eyes and hears with the ears will understand with the heart and be "converted" from unbelief to believing the gospel. Believing the gospel of Christ is the factor which distinguishes the believer from the unbeliever, the saved from the unsaved, those who see from those who are blind, the saint from the sinner, and those who walk in the light from those who walk in darkness.
 
THE PEOPLE WHICH SAT IN DARKNESS
 
In the Scriptures, lack of understanding regarding the gospel of Christ is described as "darkness," "blindness," and things which are "hidden." Paul wrote to those in Corinth, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial [Satan]? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (2 Cor 6:14-15). In these verses, darkness is specifically associated with lack of understanding leading to unrighteousness, a relationship with Belial, and infidelity [unbelief]. Referring to individuals who saw Christ at the beginning of His ministry, Scriptures tell us, The people which sat in darkness [lack of understanding] saw [perceived] great light [the mighty revelation of Christ]; and to them which sat in the region [realm] and shadow [darkness, error, lack of understanding] of [leading to and resulting in] death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent [of your rejection of Jesus Christ]: for [the only opportunity for you to enter] the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mat 4:16-17). Referring to Jesus Christ, the apostle John wrote, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light [revealing of Jesus Christ] shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended [to take eagerly, seize, possess] it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light [revelation of Christ], that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not [rejected Him] (John 1:1-10). Jesus Christ was revealed to those walking in darkness, the spiritually blind, but they rejected Him. At His apprehension, Jesus said unto the unbelieving chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders who came to seize Him, ...this is your hour, and the power [authority, right, strength] of darkness [lack of understanding, error] (Luke 22:53). Christ elsewhere explained, For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come [Christ has been revealed] into the world, and men loved darkness [lack of understanding and unbelief] rather than light, because their deeds were evil (John 3:17-19). Christ also plainly said, I am come a light [revelation] into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness [lack of understanding, error]. And if any man hear my words[personally know Me], and [still] believe not [that I am the Son of God], I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me [because he does not understand], and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (John 12:46-48). Lack of understanding is also periodically described in Scriptures as blindness. Referring to the Pharisees, who did not believe Jesus was the Son of God, Jesus said, Let them alone: they be blind [do not understand who I am] leaders of the blind [others who do not understand]. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch (Mat 15:14). Speaking to unbelieving Pharisees, Jesus also said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not [do not understand] might see [understand]; and that they which see [understand only with their physical eyes] might be made blind [unable to understand spiritually]. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind [lacking in understanding] also? Jesus said to unbelieving Pharisees, If ye were blind [did not understand and admitted it], ye should have no sin: but now ye say [in error], We see [think you understand, when you really don't]; therefore your sin remaineth (John 9:39-41). Jesus later described these Pharisees as thieves and robbers (John 10:1), strangers (John 10:5), and hirelings (John 10:12). Christ finally verified that these Pharisees walked in darkness and were unbelievers when He described them as not being Christ's sheep (John 10:26). Lastly, the apostle Paul explained that "darkness" also symbolizes things which are not seen, which are hidden [not understood] when he wrote Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light [reveal] thehidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God (1 Cor 4:5).
 
THE EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING BEING ENLIGHTENED
 
Not only do scriptures teach that there are individuals who walk in darkness, but they also teach that enlightenment is possible. When the apostle Paul wrote, For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6), he explained that the light is the knowledge of the glory [magnificence worthy of honour and worship] of God as revealed physically in Jesus Christ. Paul also instructed believers in Colossae to give thanks to God the Father because He ...hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light [because we understand]: Who hath delivered us from the power [consequences] of darkness [lack of understanding], and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son (Col 1:12-13). An unbeliever can only be "enlightened" when he or she understands and believes the good news of salvation through faith in Christ. For example, when God the Father called Paul to become a minister and witness for Christ, the Lord God said to Paul, ...rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes [to enlighten, to give them spiritual sight, to give them understanding], and to turn [epistrepho; i.e. revert, come again, convert, return, turn about] them from darkness [lack of understanding] to light [understanding], and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Acts 26:16-18). Paul was called to open the eyes of the Gentiles, to give the Gentiles spiritual sight, by "converting" their lack of understanding about the gospel of Christ to understanding. In his own words, Paul elsewhere explained how he approached and accomplished this calling when he said, For I determined not to know [understand and teach] any thing among you, save [except] Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Cor 2:2). Paul "enlightened" the Gentiles about Jesus Christ by simply preaching and teaching the gospel, by preaching and teaching "Jesus Christ, and him crucified." Speaking to believers in Christ in Ephesus, the apostle Paul also wrote we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him [God the Father] who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the [gospel] word of truth, the gospel of [good news about] your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom [to be clarified] and revelation [disclosure, manifestation] in the knowledge [recognition and acknowledgment] of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened [see the light; i.e., understand and believe the gospel of Christ]; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his [miraculous, explosive] power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought [revealed] in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Eph 1:11-23). Paul explained that the "Father of glory" is the one who gives the unbeliever "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ." Paul refers to this process whereby the individual comes to understand and believe the gospel of Christ as "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened." God the Father wants to give every individual, every heart, a revelation and understanding of the good news of Jesus Christ so that every individual may believe the "word of truth," which is the good news about our salvation through Christ. When the unbeliever believes the word of truth regarding their salvation, he or she can then know and understand the hope of God the Father's calling, the riches of the glory of the inheritance God has for the saints, and the exceeding greatness of God the Father's power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he manifested in Jesus Christ.
 
HE THAT FOLLOWETH ME SHALL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS
 
When the Jewish leaders caught the woman committing adultery, they wanted to stone her not only because stoning was the penalty that the Jewish law prescribed and commanded for the sin of adultery (John 8:5), but because the Jewish leaders believed that keeping the Jewish law was the means to eternal life (John 5:39). Speaking primarily not to the woman, but to the Jewish leaders who saw, but refused to believe the gospel of Christ, Jesus said, I am the light of the world: he that followeth [comes to and walks with] me shall not walk [live his life] in darkness [spiritual blindness, lack of understanding about the good news of Christ], but shall have the light [revelation leading to an understanding] of [that results in eternal] life (John 8:12). Christ wanted to make His spiritual point to these Jewish unbelievers that any and every individual [even the woman caught in adultery, or the leader of the Jewish church] who accepts and comes to Jesus Christ shall not live his or her life in spiritual blindness, but shall have a revelation and understanding which leads to faith in Christ and results in eternal life.  AMEN.
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall
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righteous to
be moved"
(Psa 55:22)






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