12 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.”
Light is a major theme in John’s Gospel about Jesus. He’s tells us that ‘the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1v5). He records Jesus’ words about Himself: “light has come into the world” (John 3v19) and again in the verse above.
Jesus is the light of the world. He shines into the darkness of the world; including the dark recesses of our hearts. Darkness in the Bible often symbolises evil, death and separation from God. Trying to walk alone through a forest at night without a torch is a completely different kettle of fish from walking through that same forest in bright sunlight with someone guiding you. Jesus is the light by which we can see clearly to find our way through life.
Famous Christmas carols rightly celebrate Jesus giving light to the world; “Light and life to all He brings”. But as is the case throughout John’s account of Jesus, there is a challenge. Jesus gives light to whoever follows Him. The choice to follow Jesus is a choice to receive that light and life. But Jesus doesn’t simply give light; He is the light.