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.”
With verse 12 Jesus began another round of teaching dealing with His origin and eternal relationship to the Father.
Jesus was now at the treasury of the temple (Jn 8:20). He proclaimed the light of the world discourse from 8:12 to 8:59.
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
“To them” refers to the Pharisees (Jn 8:13).
“I [emphatic] am
This is another of the great “I am” statements in the gospel of John. These words assert Jesus’ claim to deity. This is the second of seven “I am” statements in John that is followed by a specific qualification (Jn 6:35, 48, 51; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5). Here the qualification is “light of the world.”
Note the emphatic “I.” The idea is “I, and no other, am the light.”
the light of the world.
The world is in darkness. It is full of sin and evil. Jesus was “the light,” which is a symbol of the holiness of God (1 Jn 1:5). He is “the” light, not just a light (Jn 1:4). Jesus is the light of the “world,” indicating the universal scope of His light. The light symbol indicates that He is the revelation of the truth of God. Jesus as the object of belief reveals what is true about God.
Jesus is the light of the world because He is the glory of God. He visibly manifested the majesty of God. This claim is madness unless Christ was almighty God Himself.
He who follows Me
Jesus gave an exhortation under the idea that He is the light of the world. To follow Christ is to believe Him. The one who follows Christ has light to guide him.
“Follows” here is the daily experiential walk with the Lord. The walk is to be in the sphere of light.
shall not walk in darkness,
To “walk” in darkness is to live in it as a way or course of life. The double negative in the Greek makes the emphatic statement that Jesus’ followers will never walk in darkness because they will have the “light of life.” Jesus will always reveal the truth about God.
but have the light of life.”
“Have” is the language of promise. Believers have a light that lasts forever. We have a light that never ends. The light that Jesus gives awakens eternal life. Christ will always bring light to the life of His followers.
“Of life” defines the promised light. It is a life free from death. As darkness and death go together, so life and light go together.
Christians are to walk in the light as a course of life.
People who come to the truth will come to the light (Jn 3:21). The world has no light of its own, but Jesus came into the world as light. He brings the light of salvation or eternal life to those who receive Him. The Savior of the world is the light of the world.
People love darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil (Jn 3:19). Christians are the children of the light (Eph 5:8; 1 Th 5:5; 1 Pe 2:9). We are to walk as a course of life in the revelation of Christ.
Co 1: 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.