I AM the Light of the World

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

13 The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”

14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. 17 It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”

19 Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?”

Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

20 These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come. — John 8:12-20.

Jesus claims to be the Light of the world. Those following Him shall walk in ‘the light of life’. The Pharisees tell Him that He cannot testify of Himself. Jesus replies that He knows His origin and destiny and that, as His Father testifies of Him also, His witness is corroborated. This statement produces various discussions about the relationship between Jesus as God the Son, who is the Son of Man on earth, and God the Father.


“I am the light of the world” (v.12). — In Jesus’ time, oil lamps were used as part of the celebration of the Feast of Booths or Tabernacle. During this feast, the rock that provided water in the wilderness and the pillar of fire that provided light and guidance were remembered (Exodus 13:21). The rock pointed to Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:4), and He also is the light to which the pillar of fire as a type pointed. Since God is light (1 John 1:5), Jesus’ words amount to a claim of deity. This is the second “I AM” statement of Jesus as recorded by John and points back to Exodus 3:14.

“your witness is not true” (v.13). — This discussion, which runs through v. 19, pivots on the question of valid testimony. The Pharisees say that Jesus’ testimony is not legally acceptable because it lacks corroboration (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15).

“I know where I came from” (v.14). — Since Jesus knows where He “came from” (heaven), He knows that His testimony is valid and true. Jesus’ origin is again the point of conflict.

“I am not alone” (v.16). — Since the Father is His witness, Christ’s testimony is legally acceptable. In any case, one who has the witness of God needs nothing more.

“Where is your Father?” (v.19). — The Pharisees misunderstood Jesus’ claim as a reference to His physical father, and they may have been eager to challenge Him as a child allegedly born out of wedlock. In speaking of His Father, however, Jesus was not talking about Joseph but about God. Knowledge of the Father comes through the Son (1:18; 14:9; 1 John 5:20). The Pharisees’ blindness to Jesus shows that their technical knowledge of the law did not give them the knowledge of God.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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