Friday, December 21, 2007

John 8:39-47

39"Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would 40 do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41You are doing the things your own father does." "We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God Himself." 42Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on My own; but He sent Me. 43Why is My language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me! 46Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe Me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

Jesus’ rebuke hits home, and the Jews show how strongly they resist His truthful teaching. When they answer that Abraham is their father, they are not merely clinging to their physical ancestry; they are exclaiming that they, by this physical ancestry, are unconditionally heirs to God’s promises to Abraham. They are hypocrites, and clinging to this seemingly logical stance (after all, they really are physical Jewish people), they reveal their opposition to God with hardened obstinacy. It is at this point that Jesus becomes even more offensive. He declares that the Jews are not truly Abraham’s children, or else they would do what Abraham did – and Abraham believed in the teaching of God. Yes, they were physically descended from Abraham, but that’s not what makes a child of Abraham (Romans 9:6-10). In reality their spiritual father was the devil, and they were enslaved to him and to their own sin – that is why they will not listen to Jesus’ words, which come from the Father; and that is why they do not love Jesus, but seek to kill Him. As Jesus says, “Abraham did not do such things.”

The Jews then deny that they are illegitimate children (likely poking fun at Jesus – the rumor of His being a bastard child), and they boldly claim God Himself as their father. This is saying the same thing as before – that they are truly Abraham’s offspring – but in a way which Jews rarely did. Jews did not often call God “Father,” though they acknowledged it to be the case. They reason thus: “God adopted for Himself the family of Abraham; therefore, since we are Abraham’s descendants, we must be the children of God.” We can see how they thought that they had holiness from the womb, because they were sprung from a holy root. Jesus’ reply in v42 argues that whoever is a child of God will acknowledge and cherish His Son; but since these Jews (who had professed belief shortly before) hate Jesus, they have no reason to boast that you are God’s children.” Notice from this passage that there is no fear of God where Christ is rejected. Hypocritical religion shelters itself by frequent use of the name of God, but agreement with the Father is impossible without love for His Son, Jesus.

In v43, Jesus asks and answers a question, “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.” Jesus is speaking the same language as His audience, yet with this question, He intended to take out of their hands what was the subject of their continual boasting, that they are led by reason and judgment to oppose Him. He is essentially calling them stupid, foolish, and lacking reason. And His answer reveals again their inability. 1 Corinthians 2:14 Apart from being made spiritual through regeneration, these people cannot grasp spiritual things. They cannot understand, because they will not.

Jesus, in v44, calls the Jews children of the devil, not only because they imitate him (“they want to do his work”), but because they are led by his instigation to fight against Christ (“they belong to him”). We are called the children of God, not only because we resemble Him, but also because He governs us by His Spirit, because Christ lives vigorously in us, so as to conform us to the image of His Father. Understanding the devil is an intriguing study, and one often avoided out of fear or apathy. Without going into great detail, we can look at Jesus’ words here for safe and sound teaching. “He was a murderer from the beginning.” This does not mean that he has always been a murderer, as the sense in which Jesus is “from the beginning.” Rather is called a murderer from the beginning, because he contrived the destruction, or the fall, of mankind (cf. 1 Kings 22:19-23). He introduced sin when there had been none. We read next that the devil is “not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.” This first phrase lends us to think that he was not always a rebel, but fell from the state of cherishing truth (Isaiah 14:11-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Revelation 12:7-13). The second phrase confirms his apostasy. Because he has entirely turned from the truth, he has been given over to his disdain beyond hope for repair. Finally, we read, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” This statement is regarded to mean that the blame for falsehood belongs not to God, who created the devil, but to the devil himself, who has corrupted the good that God created. The devil, who knows nothing but to contrive corruptions, frauds, and delusions, is the anti-Christ; as a liar and murderer, having blinded the eyes of his children, he is contrary to Jesus, the truth and the life and the One who opens the blind eyes.

Notice the shocking statement in v45. “Because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.” This statement reveals the reality of mankind’s depravity. Unless the Spirit changes our natures through the rebirth, we are hostile to God and cannot please Him; we suppress the truth by our wickedness; we exchange the truth of God for a lie; we worship and serve created things, rather than the Creator (Romans 8:7-8; 1:18,25). In v46, Jesus asks a rhetorical question by which He claims to be sinless and perfectly righteous. He neither actually sinned nor potentially sinned. Though tempted in every way, Jesus was incapable of sinning. And He is upholding His doctrine as truth; there is no reason to doubt Him because of His impeccable character. He’s saying that His audience wouldn’t know the truth if it hit them in the face. They weren’t capable of recognizing truth because, even though they were physical sons of Abraham, they were spiritual sons of the devil. Because they belong to the devil, and not to God, they are neither willing nor able to hear and believe in Jesus. In v47, without saying anything about Himself, Jesus charges his audience with being at war with God. There is not a more evident sign of a reprobate mind than when one cannot endure the teachings of Jesus. To agree with Jesus’ teaching is to reveal yourself as elect.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

John 8:31-38

Verses 31-47 make up one of the most revealing passages in all of Scripture of the depths of human sinfulness and the necessity of God's electing grace in bringing us to genuine saving faith in Christ. It's one of my favorite passages. Let's look at it today and tomorrow.

31To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, "If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 33They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can You say that we shall be set free?" 34Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill Me, because you have no room for My word. 38I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.

John sets a new context now. Jesus had been teaching to the crowd, likely the day after the Feast of Tabernacles ended. The Pharisees interrupted, and Jesus rebuked them repeatedly, as we saw last time. But through that dialogue, many Jews “put their faith in Him” (v30). And I mentioned as we closed last time that these people had a fraudulent faith – a people group John often discusses in his Gospel. Jesus now turns to this group of Jewish people professing faith in Him, and He begins to teach them about genuine discipleship.

Jesus is suggesting here that many profess to be disciples are, in reality, not His disciples and thus have no right to be called His disciples. Those who do not hold fast to His teaching are rightly considered hypocrites – frauds. They say they believe one thing, yet their actions show that they believe another. They do not live consistently with what they proclaim, and it is sad that we are all guilty of this at times. It has been said that hypocrisy within the Church is the top thing keeping potential visitors away. With His words, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.” Jesus is saying that it is not enough for anyone to have merely heard the word gladly (as in the parable of the sower – the four soils). It is true and good that faith starts out, but it was never genuine if perseverance – namely repentance and fruit – doesn’t accompany it. Do you want to be called a disciple of Jesus? Then hold fast to His teaching; persevere in the message of the Gospel. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8), so that others may see the good that you do and glorify God (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12).

Next, having claimed that people with genuine faith will continue to believe His words, Jesus says that it is only by holding fast to the truth of His teaching that the Jews would find true truth and freedom. He says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Only by holding fast to the teaching of Jesus will you come to know the truth; and only by knowing the truth will you be set free. And we’ll talk about why it is that we need to be set free in a minute. For now, note that the lifelong pursuit of Christ’s teaching, which is the Word of God, which is truth, should be our aim as believers, for we are set free by it. Calvin says, “In order that the truth may be fully revealed to us, we ought sincerely and earnestly to endeavor to attain it.” Nothing is more excellent or desirable than the knowledge of the Gospel.

At Jesus’ teaching, the shallowness of their faith becomes apparent – for their hope of freedom, which they are unconvinced that they need, is actually in their being descended from Abraham, not in holding fast to Jesus’ teaching by grace through faith. Jesus has raised the issue of liberty and freedom; these people were imprisoned, and they didn’t know it. They are insulted when Jesus suggests freedom to be a blessing they do not yet possess. The Jews had the audacity to say they’ve never been slaves to anyone; yet the sound of Roman soldiers could be heard everywhere in Jerusalem. But that’s not even what Jesus was talking about.

Jesus wasn’t speaking of political tyranny or shackles-and-chains style physical bondage. He says very clearly what He’s talking about in v34, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” It’s the message He had come to preach. His opening message in the gospel accounts is a quotation from Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me…to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” It’s liberty from the bondage of sin and its effects, freedom from the shackles and chains of sin and guilt.

Calvin notes that “it is astonishing that men are not convinced by their own experience, so that, laying aside their pride, they may learn to be humble.” Many philosophers understand Jesus’ teaching here to mean that man is a slave by his own choice, and that by the same choice he is able to return to freedom. But Jesus is not saying that at all. Rather, He means that all who are not set free by Him, who alone has inherent freedom, are sinners by nature, enslaved to the sin nature from conception. Yet this slavery is voluntary, so that they who necessarily sin are not compelled to sin. Jesus is comparing grace and nature; men are destitute of freedom by nature, unless they gain it through the channel of faith, received by grace. And the truth Jesus teaches, the Gospel, is the instrument by which we obtain our faith, and our freedom.

Do you know where this bondage manifests itself the most? It’s in our native inability to believe the Gospel. People say, “I can believe in Jesus any time I want.” No they can’t. Do you remember what Jesus just said twice in chapter six: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” You cannot come to Jesus in your own strength or by you own native ability. Unless Jesus’ Father in heaven draws (drags) you to Jesus, you cannot come, believe, or repent. That’s where your bondage is evidenced the most, and Jesus is saying, “I’ve come to set you free. I’ve come to show you the way out of that bondage, and the way out of that prison.” All men are free to obey their greatest desire; but every man will always be captive to his greatest desire. Thus, when Jesus sets us free by regeneration, He changes our natures, which yield new desires. This commences the battle within that we all know about and struggle with. Until we die or Jesus returns, we must wrestle with desires that pull us both ways. We cannot believe unless our greatest desire is to believe; we will not have belief as our greatest desire until we experience regeneration by the Spirit. Once we are drawn in that way, we will believe, because freed from bondage to the sinful nature, belief becomes our greatest desire.

Lastly, notice that Jesus concedes their point that they are Abraham’s descendants; yet He ridicules them for glorifying themselves by that title without following in the footsteps of this hero of the faith. They lacked his most commendable trait – the obedience of faith, or the obedience that comes from faith (Romans 1:5). Nothing is farther from the truth, as they do not resemble the man whom they claim as their father. Jesus says that there is no room for His Word in them. Wishing to see Him dead, they more clearly resemble their true father – Satan – a liar and murderer, as we’ll see. At the end of v38, our text reads, “you do what you have heard from your father.” Perhaps a better rendering would be that of a challenge, “Go ahead and do what you have heard from your father. I challenge you to act on your desires and take My life. Prove Me right; show that you are children of the devil!”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

John 8:21-30

21Once more Jesus said to them, "I am going away, and you will look for Me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come." 22This made the Jews ask, "Will He kill Himself? Is that why He says, 'Where I go, you cannot come'?" 23But He continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the One I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." 25"Who are You?" they asked. 26"Just what I have been claiming all along," Jesus replied. "I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent Me is reliable, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world." 27They did not understand that He was telling them about His Father. 28So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the One I claim to be and that I do nothing on My own but speak just what the Father has taught Me. 29The One who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him." 30Even as He spoke, many put their faith in Him.

After John’s brief interlude, Jesus brings up another lesson that had been a point of discussion in the past – “Where I go, you cannot come.” And just like the first time this statement was made, there was confusion over its meaning. The people thought He was going to Greece. But this time, Jesus makes Himself clear. They realize He’s talking about the afterlife, because they ask, “Will He kill Himself?” But their question is mockery, as in, “If He kills Himself, we acknowledge that we cannot accompany Him, because we do not choose to do so.” They regarded Jesus’ absence as insignificant, thinking they’d finally gain victory over Him. But Jesus, of course, is speaking of their destiny after death. When they (the scribes and Pharisees) died, they would not go where Christ would be after His own death, for they would still be in their sins, because they did not believe in Him.

Jesus rebukes them again, saying, “You are from below (this world); I am from above (not of this world).” Calvin says that these synonymous statements are doubly issued for the emphasis that “no man, therefore, will ever be qualified to become a disciple of Christ, till Christ has formed him by His Spirit. And hence it arises that faith is so seldom found in the world, because all mankind are naturally opposed and averse to Christ, except those whom He elevates by the special grace of His Holy Spirit.” Having stated that they would die in their sin (singular) in v21, Jesus expressed that unbelief (the singular sin) was the source of all other sins. Apart from repentance in faith from this singular sin, all else loses importance in the realm of God’s wrath; thus in v24, Jesus says that they will die in their sins (plural), signifying all the particular sins that will be held against them on Judgment Day. Some suggest that unbelief alone incurs the wrath of God, but this is false; all of our sins will be held against us – including the unforgivable one, that of unbelief (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit). Jesus tells us at the end of v24 that the solution to this problem of sin is to believe that He is the One He claims to be, that He is Messiah.

Jesus’ response to the question, “Who are You?” in v25 is difficult to translate and interpret. We have it, “Just what I have been claiming all along.” The KJV renders it, “Even that I said to you from the beginning.” We could spend the rest of our time looking at what commentators have to say, but a summary of what Jesus said to them might be this: “You pretend to be disciples of the Prophets and lovers of the Law, looking to the eternal covenant of God, but though I was promised from the beginning and present Myself before you, still you reject Me.” And in v26, Jesus changes the subject, effectively threatening the judgment of God against unbelievers on the ground that God must inevitably defend His truth; and the scribes and Pharisees, and presumably others in the undoubtedly large crowd, just don’t get it.

Eventually they would see Jesus glorified (v28), but they would not be able to be with Him, for they rejected the words of the Father, which Jesus was clearly teaching them. He declares that, after they have been struck with new and unexpressed horror at the wrath of God, then and only then will they be made fully aware of what they have done. The wicked will at length feel how great a loss they have suffered by rejecting the freely offered Christ. They will feel it, but it will be too late, for there will be no more room for repentance (2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:13,15). Jesus alludes in v28 to the outward form of His death, that He was to be lifted up on the cross; but He undoubtedly looked chiefly to the glorious result of it, soon to follow, contrary to the expectation of all. And in v29, Jesus boasts that He is neither alone nor without strength, for God the Father, who sent Him, was with Him by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. That’s the mentality that brings Paul to declare, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13), and such is the courage with which we ought to live.

Jesus says some seriously grim things in the close of this passage. He declares, “Unless your sins are covered and dealt with, unless propitiation is made, unless a redemption price is paid, you will die in your sins. You will die under the judgment of God, unless you believe in Me.” That’s an unmistakably exclusive statement. He is the only way to be saved. And if you believe in Him, if you are united to Him by faith, you will never again walk in total darkness. You will never experience the darkness of the wrath of God. Would a “good moral teacher,” as some say Jesus was, carry on a discourse like this? No way.

John reveals that through these harsh words, many people in the audience believed Jesus and “put their faith in Him.” It is primarily this group whom Jesus will address next time as we look at the rest of this chapter, and we’ll see that the shallowness of their faith becomes apparent – for their hope for freedom is actually in their being descended from Abraham, not in Christ. Many of these so-called believers were frauds, just like those in John 2:23-24. Of course, their error is something that John had addressed from the beginning, when he clearly explained that God’s children were not those who were descended from Abraham, but those who were given a new birth by the Spirit (John 1:12-13; Romans 9:6-8). But having fraudulent faith mustn’t describe us. We ought to be able to say with John Wesley, “Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night. Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light. My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

John 8:13-20

13The Pharisees challenged Him, "Here You are, appearing as Your own witness; Your testimony is not valid." 14Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on My own behalf, My testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16But if I do judge, My decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent Me. 17In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. 18I am One who testifies for Myself; My other witness is the Father, who sent Me." 19Then they asked Him, "Where is Your father?" 20"You do not know Me or My Father," Jesus replied. "If you knew Me, you would know My Father also." He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized Him, because His time had not yet come.

It’s the same old argument and controversy that the Jews have had with Him before, and Jesus will make the same offensive claims that had alienated Him from the religious leadership before: first, that they are unable to believe in God, and second, that He truly is God in the flesh – only this time, Jesus will make these claims even more clearly and emphatically. But for now, notice that the Pharisees’ reaction to Jesus’ claim reveals that they understood what He was saying – that’s why they refuted Him by saying His testimony was invalid. They are saying to Him, “We see what You’re saying, but it’s no use; we won’t be convinced of Your testimony unless another agrees with You.” They immediately point to what Jesus had said in an earlier argument. He was bearing witness of Himself, so His witness must not be true – even He had said that His witness was not true if it came from Himself.

In response, Jesus claims further that His testimony alone is enough, because He does not fit the ordinary class of human beings. He knows from whence He came, and He knows where He’s going. Ordinary men who testify for themselves to their advantage should be scrutinized, but the Son of Man does not fall under that classification. His rank is higher than that of men, though He has lowered Himself for a time. And the unbelief of mankind in no way hinders His glory, the glory that is rightly His by the authority of the Father (Philippians 2:5-11). With these words, Jesus clarified that His witness is indeed true, because it does not originate with Him, but comes from the Father. He’s saying, “I am an expert witness about heaven and God. I come from there, from Him. I’m an eyewitness. The Father testifies of Me too. Since there are two expert Witnesses, both in agreement, My claim is valid.”

Furthermore, Jesus describes their judgment as being by human standards, or “according to the flesh” – as opposed to “according to the Spirit.” This means either, or both, that their judgments are wicked and/or that their judgments are based on outside appearances and not on the heart, or the motive. And when Jesus says that He passes judgment on no one, He is speaking of this context. He is not taking the liberty – though it belongs to Him – to issue judgment on this matter; He is merely teaching at this moment. The Pharisees, however, do take the liberty to judge – even though they have not that right, given their hypocrisy. He’s rebuking them repeatedly and seemingly without mercy (though we know He is being merciful by not destroying them immediately). This view of Jesus’ statement is upheld by His next statement, “If I do judge, My decisions are right…because I stand with the Father, who sent Me.” His point is that everything He does proceeds from the Father; everything involving Jesus ought to be deemed Divine.

The Pharisees ask about Jesus’ father in v19, though not likely expecting Him to point them to Joseph (the rumor regarding Jesus’ earthly father was that He was a bastard child). With this question they suggest that they do not value Jesus’ Father highly enough to ascribe any significance to Jesus for the Father’s sake. This is a very audacious question to ask with the arrogance seen behind it. And Jesus does not give them a direct reply. He doesn’t answer their question – it deserves no response – but, He instead turns the argument back on the Pharisees and tells them that they do not know His Father, God the Father – for if they did, they would know and cherish Jesus for who He is. To see Jesus is to see God the Father. And these hypocrites saw neither.

But we do see by the grace of God, and as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:18, we are being transformed into His image. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of God, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (NKJV). Finally, as mentioned earlier, John tells us that Jesus was speaking in the Temple treasury area. With the authority the Pharisees had, they should have been able to remove Jesus quickly and easily from His teaching post. But God guarded Him and caused men to hear Him, and those savage Pharisees did not touch Him, though they strongly desired to put an end to Him. God’s sovereign providence is amazing, and I can’t help but mention parts of the first two points of The Westminster Confession of Faith’s third chapter: (1) God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; (2) He has not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

Monday, December 17, 2007

John 8:12

12When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

John picks up here either the day after the Feast of the Tabernacles confrontation or immediately after this intrusion by the Pharisees into Jesus’ teaching ministry. And Jerusalem would still be teeming with families – four times the normal number of people in Jerusalem – due to the Feast. And so the context of what Jesus says here is critical. Allow me to elaborate:

We read in v20 that Jesus was speaking near the Temple treasury, where the offerings were contributed. It was in the court of women on the Temple campus that the treasury was found. Now the court of women was open to the elements, for there was no roof in the courtyard, and at the Feast of Tabernacles, candles would be lit on the floor. Perhaps hundreds or even thousands of candles would be lit to remain aglow for the whole week, until the Feast of Tabernacles was over. Then all of the candles would go out. If you were walking around at night within a couple miles of the Temple during the Feast, you’d see the glow of light, because it was open to the elements. It must have been quite a sight. Perhaps some of the families went for a little walk each night just outside the city in order to see the glow of light emerging from the Temple. And here’s the point. When the Feast of Tabernacles is finished, the lights are put out. And the excitement is gone. And there’s a return to darkness. But that’s the moment when Jesus declares, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” It’s perfect timing; it’s God’s timing. The words are nice, but when they – for the Jewish people – are combined with the cultural / traditional events (the signs pointing forward to the reality), it’s amazing. Once again, Jesus is declaring, “Your Feast points to Me. I am the reality which your Feast symbolizes.” Part of what the Feast of Tabernacles was about was the Exodus period when a pillar of light led the people through the wilderness, and Jesus is saying, “I am that light. I’m the One who leads the people of God into the ways of salvation and into the ways of truth and into the ways of fullness.”

So when Jesus asserts with fervency and authority, that He is “the light of the world,” He is saying two things. First, He is saying, by implication, that apart from Himself, men and women are in darkness; their minds are darkened; they’re blind and cannot see. And in the following chapter, He will illustrate His claim, by the sign-miracle of giving sight to the man born blind. John plants the theme that Jesus is coming into the world as the light of the world to dispel the darkness right in the prologue of the Gospel. There is first the darkness that describes the old covenant – it was merely a shadow of what was to come. Remember, “Out with the old and in with the new.” John alluded to this in the prologue of His Gospel as well – “The Law came by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” and, “of His fullness we have all received one blessing after another” – “grace upon grace.” There is also a darkness that lies in the human heart; there is the darkness of the natural man’s mind. This is the darkness of John 3 and 1 Corinthians 2:14 and Romans 8 – the mind of sinful man is sin and death and hostile to God and cannot please God, and the natural man cannot understand spiritual things, and man loves darkness and hates the light and will not come into the light, for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Second, Jesus is declaring to be the fulfillment of prophecy. “Light” is a critical word for John; it’s meant to make us think hard about it. Isaiah 9:2 (see also v1-3,6-7) says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. Upon them a light has dawned.” Jesus is saying, “I am that light; I am the One of whom the Old Testament speaks; I am the fulfillment of every promise of the Messiah in the Old Testament; I am He.” The author of Hebrews declares Jesus to be the radiance, the light, of the glory of God. John writes in his first epistle that God is light. He writes in the Book of Revelation that the city of God has no need of the sun or moon or stars, because Jesus is the light. It is a beautiful picture. When Jesus says, “I am the light of the world,” He is making a claim to absolute Deity.