John 8:12

John 8:12

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.”

  1. In Numbers 9:15-17, Moses explained how the “cloud” (which was the very Presence of God) would cover the Tabernacle. Think about how the Presence of God worked in the lives of the people of God. Apply this to your (our) life as 21st-century Jesus-followers. What can we learn from it about the way God works with us today and what He expects of us? Consider the setting too! Compare this passage to John 8:12. Any thoughts?
  1. If John 7:37-39 were Jesus’ ‘Water Words’, then John 8:12 are His ‘Light Words’. Think about how prevalent the theme of ‘light’ is in John’s Gospel. Consider each of the following verses and discuss what are they’re telling us about Jesus, about ourselves, and about the darkness: John 1:4, 1:6-9; 8:12; 12:35-36, 12:46. Try to apply each verse to our own time and challenges. What do they teach us about us? About the darkness?
  1. Look at Isaiah 9:2, a prophecy concerning the coming of Messiah. Matthew 4:16 quotes this passage when describing the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. But how do the two quotes differ? What are they saying about ‘darkness.’ How do they describe the horrible ‘place’ in which the lost reside? Just for fun, add Psalm 23:4 into the mix and make a personal application. How does this give us hope?
  1. How do Jesus’ ‘Light Words’ (“I am the Light of the world”) make Matthew 27:45-46 even more chilling? What is this passage showing us?
  1. “Light” in the Bible often signifies the glory of God’s Presence. Consider God’s glory/light in connection with these passages: Acts 9:3-5 and Revelation 1:12-18 (especially 1:16c). Specifically, which Member of the Trinity are these passages describing? What do they teach us about our place before Him?
  1. What is your understanding of 1 John 1:5? How does it speak to our lives as believers? Hint: the verses that immediately follow (1:6-10) may provide the answer!
  1. The “darkness” Jesus mentions in John 8:12 is a deep darkness indeed! Martin Luther wrote that in Jesus’ “I am the Light” statement, He is implying that “darkness rules wherever I am not; whenever I am extinguished, no one sees anything.”1 Theologian R. Schnackenburg sees life without Jesus as utter despair: “Darkness,” he says, “characterizes the existential situation of the person who, lacking the light of saving revelation, leads a life without goal or direction and ‘does not know where he goes’ (John 12:35), and remote from God, is without hope and at the mercy of inevitable death.”2 Discuss these ideas. How do they speak to the world – the people – we see around us? How might they spur us on to evangelism?
  1. How can we apply Jesus’ words in 8:12 – “whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” – to unbelievers? How about to believers? What’s the ‘qualification’ given to “not walk in darkness”?

1 Luther, Martin, Luther’s Works (American Edition), ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton Oswald, and Helmut Lehmann (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999) 23:319.

2 Schnackenburg, Rudolf, The Gospel According to St. JohninHerder’s Theological Commentary on the New Testament (Herder & Herder, 1968) 2:191.

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