The Light of The World :: By Bill Pierce


Text: John 8:12-19

The circumstance—Early one morning as Jesus taught the people in the temple, the scribes and Pharisees interrupted him by setting a woman taken in adultery in the midst of them. After seeing and hearing the response of Jesus, they, “being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last” (John 8:9). When no man condemned the woman, Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:10-11). After his masterful and merciful response to this interruption, Jesus continued to teach many things to the people in the temple.


John 8:12Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world…”

The incarnate Word of God — Jesus, who is without controversy “Godmanifest in the flesh” (John 1:1-14; 1Timothy 3:16), said unto his disciples: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). God the Father prophesied to his Son: “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:6); and also: “It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

The true Light — “…the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13) is “the true God, and eternal life” (1John 5:20). He is “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:6-9), “and in him is no darkness at all” (1John 1:4-5)! He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15; John 8:46).

The light of New Jerusalem — The “holy city, new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2) will have “no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23).

The written words of God — The psalmist declared: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105); and: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). Solomon wrote: “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23). The apostle declared: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2Peter 1:19).

The testimony of Jesus — According to his own words, Jesus is the eternal “I AM” (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58). Jesus also declared: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35); “I am the door of the sheepby me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:7-9); “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14); “I am the Son of God” (John 10:36); I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live (John 11:25); “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am” (John 13:13); “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman” (John 15:1); “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almightythe first and the lastI will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” (Revelation 1:8, 11, 17; 21:6; 22:13); “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18); “…I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:23); “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16).

The judgment of Jesus — In the last day, the Lord Jesus Christ will judge every unbeliever in righteousness (Acts 17:31; Revelation 19:11) by the very words that he has spoken (John 12:46-48). Then he will command every unbeliever, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41)! The “god of this world [the devil] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2Corinthians 4:3-4). See also Acts 26:13-18 and Romans 13:11-14.

In eternity, all of the “unbelievingshall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). This terrible place is also called “outer darkness: [where] there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12).

Warning — The LORD warned through his prophet: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Plagues and loss of blessings are promised to anyone who adds or takes away from God’s written word (Revelation 22:18-19). While there are “many, which corrupt the word of God…” (2Corinthians 2:17), nevertheless, the LORD has kept his words pure and preserved for our generation in the Authorized King James Bible (Psalm 12:6-7). “God…Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-4) who said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).


John 8:12 “…he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

The Light of every man — David declared: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1); “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light” (Psalm 36:9). Another psalmist declared: “God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light…” (Psalm 118:27). The Lord Jesus Christ is “the bread of Godwhich cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world” (John 6:33).

The life of Jesus “was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). During his earthly ministry, Jesus said unto the Jews, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light” (John 12:35-36).

The light of his gospel — The “light of the glorious gospel of Christ” (2Corinthians 4:4), “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:3-4), “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Our Saviour Jesus Christ “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2Timothy 1:8-10).

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:18-21).

Called out of darkness — God calls men by the gospel “to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thessalonians 2:14). If you have believed the gospel with all your heart, then you are one of “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26), and you are one of “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Peter 2:9). God has delivered you “from the power of darkness” and has translated you “into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). The children of God are the “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8; 1Thessalonians 5:5) who, at this present time, are “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).

The lighted paths of righteousness — Our “Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20) leads his children “in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). He leads them along “…the path of the just [which] is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18).

Obedience required — To continue in the paths of righteousness in fellowship with the Lord, we must walk in obedience to his word: “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1John 1:6-7).

The dark path of the wicked — “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Proverbs 4:19). Jesus said, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). The wicked “know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course” (Psalm 82:5). The wicked are they that “call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20-21).

The Lord Jesus warned, “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23; Luke 11:34-35). When unbelievers sincerely believe the lies of their false religion are truth, then they remain in great darkness. The word of God describes all Christ rejecters as “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:13)!

The prophet wisely advised Israel: “Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness” (Jeremiah 13:16). The only antidote for you who remain in the darkness of false religion is to cease from man (Isaiah 2:22) and to read the Holy Bible for yourself; for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).


John 8:13-14The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.”

The spoken record — In chapter five, Jesus had told the Jews, “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true” (John 5:31-32). If the Lord Jesus should bear witness of himself independent of his Father’s witness, then his witness alone would not meet the requirement of scripture, which says, “…In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2Corinthians 13:1; Matthew 18:16).

The Lord Jesus declared: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Therefore, everything that Jesus says about himself will certainly be in complete agreement with the Father. See John 8:17-18 below. The Lord Jesus knew that he came from heaven and would return to heaven, but these unbelieving Jews were blind to this truth.

The written record — “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son” (1John 5:10). The entire volume of the Holy Bible is the record of the Son of God. When he came into the world, the Son said, “Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7; Psalm 40:7).


John 8:15Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.”

His own knew him not — The Lord Jesus commanded the people: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Therefore, his believing children “walk by faith, not by sight” (2Corinthians 5:7). But the unbelieving Jews judged the Lord by sight—by his outward appearance and not by faith. By judging the Lord after the flesh, they fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy: they despised and rejected him and esteemed him not (Isaiah 53:2-3)!

The Lord will judge every man — The implication of this verse (John 8:15) is that the Lord judges no man after the flesh. The verse cannot mean that he judges no man at all! We know this for sure, for the scripture declares that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22), and that he “will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Jesus Christ is “the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8): he is “God the Judge of all” (Hebrews 12:23), “the Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25)!

Similar verses with implied meanings — James wrote, “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13). This verse implies that God does not tempt any man with evil. “God did tempt Abraham” (Genesis 22:1), but not with evil! In the first book of Chronicles, we read: “And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king” (1Chronicles 29:20). We know that the people did not bow down their heads and worship the king! The clear implication is that the king also bowed his head and “worshipped the LORD.” The comma before “and the king” makes this clear.


John 8:16And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

The Son is the righteous judge — The Father “hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22), “And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27-30). God “hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31; Psalm 72:2; 96:13; 98:9; Isaiah 11:4; Revelation 19:11).

All born-again believers “shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10; 2Corinthians 5:10), and all of the unrighteous “dead” will “stand before God [the Lord Jesus Christ]” and be “judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:11-13). Born-again believers will receive or lose rewards according to their works; nevertheless, they will all live forever with their Saviour (1Corinthians 3:11-15). But all the wicked dead will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15) and “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power…” (2Thessalonians 1:7-10)!


John 8:17-18It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.”

Required by law — Under the law of Moses, it was required that there be two or three witnesses to establish a man’s guilt (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). The New Testament also declares: “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2Corinthians 13:1).

The Father’s spoken witness of his Son —Three times during the Son’s earthly ministry, the Father witnessed of him.

First, after being baptized by John the Baptist, when he came up out of the water, there came “a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17).

Then, when Peter, James, and John were on a high mountain apart with Jesus, while Peter was speaking, “behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matthew 17:5)

And thirdly, during the Passover feast, Jesus answered the Greeks: “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28)

The Son witnessed of himself — When Jesus found the man who had been born blind—who he had healed, “he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee” (John 9:35-37). When the Jews took up stones to stone him, they said, “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered themSay ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10:33-36).

And when the Lord Jesus was on the cross, the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, and testified: “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God” (Matthew 27:41-43).

Three witnesses in the earth today — Since the Father sent the Holy Ghost into the world (John 14:26), “there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one” (1John 5:8-12). The Spirit is the Holy Ghost who reproves “the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The “water” is the word of God (Ephesians 5:26), “the record that God gave of his Son.” (1John 5:10). And “the blood” is “the witness of men” (1John 5:9).


John 8:19Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.”

Destroyed for lack of knowledge — The people in the temple were ignorant of the doctrine of the Godhead, that “there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1John 5:7); and they knew not that in the Son of God “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Jesus said unto Thomas, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14:6-11).

The word of God says, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1John 2:22-23); and: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2John 1:9).

Knowledge of the Father comes only by the Son — On another occasion, Jesus said to the multitude, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22). The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the “one mediator between God and men” (1Timothy 2:5). No man can come to the Father but by Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

The understanding of those who do not believe that Jesus Christ “is the true God, and eternal life” (1John 5:20) is darkened (Ephesians 4:17-19). Jeremiah spoke to Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 13:11) and said, “Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness” (Jeremiah 13:15-16; Matthew 8:12).

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).