The Gospel of John
8:12-30 - CHAPTER STUDY

"I AM The Light Of The World"

Light VS Darkness

J. Deering, AncientPath.net


 

Recently the pastor of our local church introduced us to "The Two Step." That's a little dance step where you "Step to the Left, and Step to the Right." He used this little dance step to teach a valuable lesson to the members of our congregation. He divided up the text of John 8:12-30 into statements made to and about the Pharisees, and statements by Jesus concerning Himself. He had us follow along as he read the text and we "Moved to the left" when we were thinking Pharisees, and we "Moved to the right" when we were thinking Jesus. It gave everyone a simple tool to divide up these verses and make them more understandable.

 

Since we can't dance here on the web, below is a little table that divides up the text into those two sectors, The Pharisees, and Jesus.

 

THE MAIN STATEMENT

12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

 

The Pharisees

Jesus

13 So the Pharisees said to Him, "You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.”

14 Jesus answered and said to them, "Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.

15 [Jesus said,] You judge according to the flesh;

I am not judging anyone. 16 But even if I do judge. My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. 17 Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me."

19 So they were saying to Him, "Where is Your Father?"

Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also." 20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.

 

21 Then He said again to them, “I go away,

and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come." 22 So the Jews were saying, "Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, "Where I am going, you cannot come?'

 

23 And He was saying to them, "You are from below

I am from above;

you are of this world,

I am not of this world.

24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." 25a S they were saying to Him, "Who are You?" 25b Jesus said to them, "What have I been saying to you from the beginning? 26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world."

27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about

the Father.

28 So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him." 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.

 

THE COMMENTARY

"Step to the Left"
13 So the Pharisees said to Him, "You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.”

 

Starting in verse 13, the Pharisees engage Jesus in a question of the Law. They wish to point the finger at Jesus and use a legal technicality to demonstrate that Jesus has no right to make the statements He makes because He has no one to "testify" that He's telling the truth when he makes them.

 

"Step to the Right"

14 Jesus answered and said to them, "Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.

 

Jesus speaks of His Eternal relationship to His father as the Son of God - which the Pharisees have yet to understand - that because of who He is, He can only tell the truth. He uses the moment to point out to them that they are "in the dark" about not only who He is, but also His plans for His "comings and goings" in the time He has here on earth.

 

"Step to the Left"

15a [Jesus said,] You judge according to the flesh;

 

Jesus points out that He knows why they are there questioning and arguing with Him - They have come to judge Him, but their judgment is based upon "the flesh," their own earthly desires and intentions to find legal fault with Jesus and then find Him guilty, and therefore legally kill Him.

 

"Step to the Right"

15b [Jesus continues] I am not judging anyone. 16 But even if I do judge. My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. 17 Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I AM He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me."

 

Jesus first statement is easily overlooked as to its importance.

17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God [John 3:17-18]

Jesus came to save - the world, that's everyone. Of course not all will allow themselves to be saved. Salvation requires loving God, through Jesus Christ, with a heart that desires not to be god itself. Everyone who comes must place themselves at His feet and call Him Lord - from the heart.

 

He then says that even if He were to judge - His judgment is true. As God Himself He is not alone. The other members of the Godhead participate with Him in all things. As God, certainly, every judgment He makes is true. The law on this point is true - because He wrote it. He's the Truth because He and His Father [and The Spirit] are all true, and specifically His Father, who sent Him down to earth for the salvation of "those who will," and His testimony about His Son is the truth.

 

The Pharisee's fleshly judgment was for the there-and-then. Jesus' judgment if for the future, when all will be judged - not for our sin and sins, but on whether we personally love God, and place our faith and trust in His son, by the power of His Spirit as we yield to Him.

 

"Step to the Left"

19a So they were saying to Him, "Where is Your Father?"

 

These Jews who John reported as "the Jews who believed," are clearly showing themselves to be in the dark about Jesus. Their "belief" must have been on of "rocky ground."

13 And He *said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” [Mark 4:13-20]

They had no ears to hear, no eyes to see, but Jesus is not yet finished with them.

 

"Where is your father?" they asked. They are totally unaware of who the Jesus is. They're looking around the courtyard looking for Jesus' father. "He's not here," they say to themselves.

 

"Step to the Right"

19b Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also." 20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.

 

Jesus tells them the truth, "You know neither Me nor My Father," - a clear statement of fact. He then makes another statement that can be easily overlooked if we're not careful. "If you knew Me, you would know My Father also." So many seek God but want nothing to do with Jesus. There are those who seek Jesus, but want nothing to do with His Father or the full expression of God. "Jesus said good things, lets follow Jesus." But God said, "Surrender you life to Him, kneel before Him, love Him with all your heart." Many want nothing to do with a Jesus who is truly God and that even with our revelation of God as the "great three-ion-one," they refuse to believe that there is only one God. That's why, "If you knew Me, you would know My Father also."

 

John pulls us back from the story for a moment and reports that Jesus was teaching in the temple. It's there where the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other officials were seeking Jesus to kill Him. Jesus is in the midst of this discussion concerning Himself and His Father - yet, no one seized Him. John finishes with, "because His hour had not yet come." John returns us to the bigger story - the "time-line" of Jesus' walk on earth to the Cross. Scripted by the Father, performed by the Son, Enabled by the Spirit... Jesus is going to the Cross. The Cross is not unforeseen by God, it is His design, His purpose. We must not forget that and think as some do that Jesus dies upon the cross by fate, or some accident. This is the plan from all eternity - The Son of God must die on that cross to save human sinners who would believe and love God through Jesus, the Christ, by the Spirit of God. We must look beyond now, beyond the immediate future, beyond earth, and look to eternity. God saving sinful people for an adopted family to serve and worship Him forever.

 

"HOP on the Right"

21a Then He said again to them, “I go away,

 

Jesus tells them the truth concerning His time here on earth. Again, since they had no ears to hear, or eyes to see, they are unaware of the true meaning of His words. He telling them that their time is limited in this matter of salvation. The door is open, the opportunity will be brief, the time is soon coming when, "I [will] go away." The door will be shut, the opportunity over.

 

"Step to the Left"

21b and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come." 22 So the Jews were saying, "Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, "Where I am going, you cannot come?'

 

These are probably the most tragic words ever spoken. "and you will seek Me, and [you] will die in your sin; [and] where I AM going - you CANNOT come." Most of us, at some time in our lives, will reach out to God for salvation (many have already done so). Many will want that salvation at any cost - except yielding to Jesus Christ as the only one who can offer it. For those, "you will seek me, and will die in your sin." For those there will never be any admittance into God's heavenly kingdom.

 

On another level, these "believing Jews" will continue in faithlessness and will instead try to find Jesus - but only to kill Him. They surely will not find Him, they will surely die in their sin, and where He is going - they cannot ever come."

 

These Jews, not hearing what He was saying, were confused. These who would seek to kill Him say, "He's surely he will not kill himself, will he?" No, He's not going to kill Himself - you're going to put Him to death on the Cross.

 

"Hop on the Left"

23a And He was saying to them, "You are from below...."

 

They are from "below," that place called earth that is under the dominion of the devil himself.

 

"Step to the Right"

23b I am from above;

 

Jesus comes down from heaven. His home is with His Father and the Holy Spirit - together One God in Heaven - not earthly, not under the dominion of the evil one.

 

"Step to the Left"

23c you are of this world,

 

This world is the world which is below the heavens. This is their dwelling place.

 

"Step to the Right"

23d I am not of this world.

 

Not created. Born of God.

6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

[Isaiah 9:6-7]

Jesus the child was born, Jesus the Son of God was given to us!

 

"Step to the Left"

24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins;” 25 So they were saying to Him, "Who are You?"

 

Time and time again these Jews have not understood Jesus' words. They have no believing faith - and because of that... "you will die in your sins." And yet still, they ask, "Who are You?"

 

Put yourself in their place, you are a Jew, who for a short time followed Jesus because of some non-faith reason. Jesus has repeatedly told them who He is. Don't forget that He had already revealed to them that He was the long awaited Messiah. They would have been expecting Him, and should have been ready to understand His words and that which seems to be hidden meaning. But they were expecting a different kind of a messiah, one who would free them from the Romans, on who would re-establish their nation and lead them like David. Instead He came to save them from their sins - and make them part of the Promised Kingdom of God on earth and in Heaven, but they didn't want that Jesus.

 

"Step to the Right"

25b Jesus said to them, "What have I been saying to you from the beginning? 26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world."

 

The cannot see, they cannot hear, their hearts are bound up in their self-centered world. Jesus' message has been focused upon who He is and why He's come. He is from God, He and the Father are One, If you've seen Him - you've seen the Father, and soon we shall hear Jesus say, "Before Abraham was, I AM." That's who He is, the third person of The Almighty God of heaven and earth.

 

And because He is who He is--He is the one who speaks the truth and He is the one who will judge them for their turned-away from God hearts.

 

God the Father, who is true, sent God the Son. God the Father told, and is telling, God the Son many things--and it is these things that Jesus, God the Son has told them. He will soon turn from telling them--to telling the world, as the Gospel moves from the Jews to the whole world.

 

"Step to the Left"

27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father.

 

How very dull of hearing and blind of sight. But Satan has entered into their self-centered hearts and closed their minds. Yet, they are responsible for their hearts, minds, and actions. Jesus speaks of His heavenly Father - and they do not hear.

 

"Step to the Right"

28 So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him." 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.

 

Jesus tells them that it will not be until they have crucified Him that they will begin to understand who He is. "When you life up the Son of man," calls us back to Jhn 3:14 and Numbers Chapter 21:9, "Even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man be lifted up." Just as the serpent was lifted up that all who looked upon it and believed it would heal them (bring them physical salvation), so to Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, would effect spiritual salvation to those who looked upon Him and believed. When the Jews raised Jesus up on the Cross - they too would know what they had done and recognize their Messiah - but most would never believe. As He spoke, many saw Him for who He was and believed in Him - however for most, as we'll see in the verses ahead, it would be a shallow belief that would not lead them to salvation in Christ.

 


 

References concerning Darkness and Light:

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

 

 

Of the wicked:

Job 24:16, "In the dark they dig into houses. They shut themselves up by day; They do not know the light."

 

Job 38:15, "From the wicked their light is withheld. And the uplifted arm is broken."

 

Isaiah 5:20a, 'Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness:"

 

Isaiah 10:17a, "And the light of Israel will become a fire and His Holy One a flame."

 

Of God:

Job 33:28, "He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, And my life shall see the light."

 

Psalm 36:9, "For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light."

 

Psalm 43:3, "0 send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places."

 

Psalm 56:13, "For You have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling. So that I may walk before God in the light of the living."

 

Daniel 2:22, "It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him”

 

Of Messiah:

Isaiah 9:2, referenced in Matthew 4:16, "The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned.”

 

Isaiah 49:6, "He says, 'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My Salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

 

Isaiah 60:1, "Arise, shine; for your Light has come, and the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you

 

Isaiah 60:3, "Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising."

 

Psalm 97:11, "Light is sown like seed for the righteous And gladness for the upright in heart.”

 

Of Jesus from Book of John:

1:4, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.“

 

1:5, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

 

1:9, "There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.”

 

3:19, "This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their deeds were evil.”

 

3:20, "For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed

 

3:21, "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

 


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