I AM THE LIGHT
Sky Beam, the world’s brightest man-made light, sits atop the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. Airline pilots can spot the beam up to 300 miles away. But Sky Beam can’t spread its light everywhere.
Jesus declared Himself the Light of the World. No place exists where His light can’t shine. Contemplate the mercy and forgiveness Jesus radiates to those who desire to know Him.
Some legalistic Pharisees and scholarly scribes sought ammunition to defame Jesus. These men brought an adulterous woman before Him. The religious leaders spouted their version of the law’s provision for the death of adulterers. Where was the adulterous man? The law stipulated death for both (Deut. 22:22–24). They demanded Jesus to declare her guilty or innocent according to the law.
The accusers set a trap to gather evidence to try Jesus. If He granted mercy, He disputed Jewish law. If He pronounced guilt, He contradicted Roman law, which did not approve stoning for this crime. Jesus saw through their scheme, stooped to the ground and wrote.
The opponents goaded Jesus for an answer. He gave an unexpected reply as He challenged the sinless among them to stone her. Since they produced no witnesses to confirm the accusations, the proceeding broke moral and legal norms. Their actions unmasked them as sinners.
Jesus stooped and wrote on the ground again. One by one the men slipped away.
Jesus asked the ill-treated woman where they were and who judged her. She stated the obvious. Only Jesus remained, so she awaited His verdict.
Jesus urged her to leave and quit her sin. He refused to judge her. Some fault Him as being soft on sin, but He never stated approval. He simply did what only God can do — balance justice with mercy. Like you, the woman deserved justice and got mercy.
Jesus’ second “I am” statement fit the Feast of Tabernacles context. He proclaimed Himself the Light of the World. Light held significance at the Feast. Temple officials lit oversized golden lampstands to recollect the pillar of fire that guided the wilderness wanderings. Jesus, as Light of the World, is God present in our midst.
John contrasted the darkness of sin with the light of salvation. Dark and light can’t coexist. With the “I am” proclamation, Jesus claimed to be God. His words failed to convince them. They challenged Him to produce witnesses as the law demanded and used inaccurate assumptions to judge Him.
Jesus knew His origin and His destiny. He declared they couldn’t know Him because they didn’t know God. Jesus identified their invalid judgments as human and from darkness. Until they saw Him as light sent from God, darkness ruled them. Instead of ruling as a judge, He came to rescue people from a ritualistic form of judgment.
Jesus testified to Himself as the true light, and God testified when He sent Jesus. Both testimonies carry the essence of divine truth.
Do you live in the truthful glow of a merciful, forgiving God?
By Darryl Wood
Retired pastor, current hospice chaplain and interim pastor