Message: Part 2: Jesus is Your Light
Scripture Text: John 8:12
1. We’re beginning the season of Lent this week, and throughout we will be in the
Gospel of John.
a. In this gospel, Jesus
talks mostly about himself. He uses the word “I” 177 times compared to 34 in all 3 combined.
i. 85 times Jesus combines the words “I am” or Ego Eimi in the Greek.
ii. Seven of those “I ams” are linked with a predicate object- “I am the…” followed by a vivid metaphor.
iii. I am the bread, the light, the gate, the shepherd, the resurrection, the way, the vine.
iv. These 7 “I Ams” are spread throughout John’s Gospel and they are the glue which holds it together.
b. We are going to spend each week through Easter looking at an “I Am” statement and how they have the power to unfreeze your faith and draw you into intimate
relationship with God.
2. The second “I Am” happens in John 8.
a. Read John 8:12
b. Some scholars say that to truly understand this passage we need to go all the way back to the Old Testament and the Exodus: when Moses led the Israelites out of captivity, through the desert to the
i. During their journey, God supernaturally provided three things the people needed to survive.
1. Bread (by sending a dew-like substance to cover the ground which could be collected, baked and eaten)
2. Water (Moses would strike a boulder with his staff and water would gush out).
3. Light (through a pillar of cloud and fire which guided them each step of the way).
4. These three things were God’s special provision for his people.
c. So here’s Jesus, in John chapter 6 saying “I am the bread of life;” in chapter 7 he says “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” And here in chapter 8 “I am the light.”
i. Jesus is saying he himself is God’s guiding light, leading his people from slavery through the wilderness to arrive at their true home.
ii. He’s the light on a global level – he is for the whole world, and he guides into THE real life.
iii. But he’s also light on a personal level, for you and only you if you follow Him as he guides you into your own best, most real life.
3. By the world’s
standards, I qualify as a reasonably intelligent guy. I have a graduate degree, I can solve expert Sudoku puzzles, and my wife – who is the smartest person I know – still asks me questions.
a. But I have also learned I can be incredibly dumb, short-sighted, foolish and unwise. This has been especially true when it comes to truly knowing myself.
i. I have gotten myself into some dark places in my past, and for all my smarts I had no clue what to do.
ii. I have truly experienced Jesus’ light coming to me and showing me the way – sort of like standing in the middle of a thick forest at night and getting handed a flashlight.
b. I can use Jesus’ light to shine behind me. It has helped me to see how I got in such a mess and learn how to avoid that path. Jesus’ light helped me forgive myself and reconcile the past.
c. I can use Jesus’ light to shine ahead of me. It has helped me to catch glimpses of where God is leading me in the future in my life’s work, my marriage and family. Jesus’ light has helped me be excited and hopeful about what’s ahead of me.
d. But I’ve discovered that Jesus’ wisdom and light are mostly meant for the present: how I’m following and being faithful right now.
i. Psalm 119 says Jesus is a light to my feet, the path under me.
ii. The Israelites were at their best when they stopped looking back, or needing to see the future, and fixed their eyes on following the great pillar of light wherever it led them
iii. I feel the most bathed in light when I have focused my attention on seeing God’s will, Jesus presence and the Spirit’s guiding for where I am and what’s happening to me right now.
iv. When I’m concentrating on how God wants me to respond to what’s happening right now. Or how God wants me to be with the people I’m with right now. Or listening to what God is trying to teach me right now.
e. Salvation doesn’t happen in the past or future, it happens in the present. God rescued the Israelites from slavery with each step they took towards freedom.
f. And I’ve noticed that the coolest thing about all this has been how, as I’ve focused on following Jesus’ light, he has used me to be a light for others – and that’s given my
life an incredible sense of purpose.
As Jesus says in Matthew 5: “You are the light of the world…et your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
4. About this ever-present light is like a 100- degree sunny day for a block of ice. It has the power to unfreeze your faith.
a. Each week I’m going to give you three ‘thaw
levels’ for Jesus to unfreeze you
now and over coming week – if you’re willing to go there.
b. Warm: when’s the last time you “saw the light?” What did God help you see and how did that change things?
c. Medium: How do you best receive God’s wisdom? From scripture study? Prayer? Wise people? Thinking through your experiences? How can you seek more of God’s wisdom than you do now?
d. Hot: How has God gifted you to be His light in the world for Christ? Primarily through your words? Your actions? Your leadership? Your serving? How can that light shine more brightly this week?