Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness…
Whether this figurative language was suggested by the morning sun, as it rose in the east over the crown of Olivet, or by the great lamps which were, during the Feast of Tabernacles, kindled in the temple court at evening, in either case its appropriateness and beauty are manifest.
I. THIS SIMILITUDE EXHIBITS THE GLORY AND POWER OF CHRIST IN HIS OWN NATURE. Light is a form of universal force, proceeding from the sun, the vast reservoir of power, and acting by the motion of the ethereal medium in wave-like vibrations. Artificial light is only the same force stored up in the earth, and liberated for purposes of illumination. The sun may therefore be regarded as, for us, the centre and source of all light. By its rays we know the glories and beauties of earth and sea; and to them we are indebted, not only for knowledge, but for much enjoyment and for many practical advantages. If, then, anything created and material can serve as an emblem of the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, this majestic luminary may well fulfil this purpose. He who first said, "Let there be light!" gave to mankind the great Sun of Righteousness who has arisen upon the world. None but the Divine Lord and Saviour of mankind could justly claim to be "the Light of the world."
II. THIS SIMILITUDE EXHIBITS THE BLESSINGS WHICH CHRIST BRINGS TO THE WORLD.
1. The world of humanity is in the darkness of ignorance, and the Lord Jesus brings to it heavenly knowledge. Christ is the true Light, instructing men who are very ignorant of God, of his designs of mercy, of the prospects of the future, and indeed of everything that is most important for man as a spiritual being to be acquainted with.
2. The world of humanity is in the darkness of sin, and the Lord Jesus brings to it the light of forgiveness and holiness. As when a dark dungeon is thrown open, so that the sunlight streams into it; so was it with the world when Christ came to the dark places of the earth, and irradiated them with his holy presence. They who sometime were darkness now became light in the Lord.
3. The world of humanity lay in the darkness of death; the Lord Jesus brought to it the light of life. Vitality is hindered by darkness, and is fostered by daylight; the plant which is pale and sickly in the cellar grows green and healthy when exposed to the sunshine. Mankind when in sin are liable to spiritual death. Christ introduces the principle of spiritual vitality, and they who partake of it, and pass from darkness into glorious light, bear in abundance the blossom of piety and the fruit of obedience.
4. The world of humanity is in darkness and danger; the Lord Jesus brings the light of safety. He is a Lamp to guide the searchers, a Lantern to light upon the path of safety, a Torch to those who explore the cavern, a Pharos to those who sail the stormy seas, a Harbour light to guide into the haven of peace, a Pole star to direct the wanderer's course, a Pillar of fire to light the nation's desert march. So our Saviour warns men of spiritual perils, directs their steps into spiritual safety, directs in circumstances of difficulty and perplexity, brings to eternal peace.
III. THE SIMILITUDE REMINDS US OF OUR DUTY WITH REFERENCE TO CHRIST.
1. To admire and adore the light. The old Persians worshipped the rising sun; Christians may well worship their glorious Lord.
2. To walk in the light. Let it be remembered that the sun shines in vain for those who conceal themselves from his beams; and that even to admire is not enough, if we fail to make use of the heavenly shining to guide our steps aright.
"Thou Sun of our day, thou Star of our night,
We walk by thy ray, we live in thy light;
Oh shine on us ever, kind, gracious, and wise,
And nowhere and never be hid from our eyes." T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
WEB: Again, therefore, Jesus 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."