John 8:12: “Whoever Follows Me Will Not Walk In Darkness…”

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’”

(John 8:12)

The Bible describes Jesus the Christ (Anointed One) as the light of the world.  No better description could be given of Him.  John opened his gospel by writing this about Jesus:  “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5).  It is said that commanding officers motivate their men in the heat of battle by saying, “Come on, men!  Do you want to live forever?”  Friend, do YOU want to live forever?  Do you want eternal life?  Jesus is where you get it.  He is the source of eternal life and light.  He is the light of men, the light of the world which shines in the darkness and overcomes it.

However, I have a question worth considering by all of us.  Are we seeing His light?  If we don’t know Jesus like we need to know Him, are we seeing His light?  Before the apostle Peter died (2 Peter 1:14), the last command the Holy Spirit inspired him to write was this:  “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).  Friend, how well are you growing in your knowledge of Jesus?  John wrote, “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:20).  Those who let sin reign in their lives don’t really care to get to know Jesus better, because Jesus is the light and they hate the light because the light exposes their evil deeds for what they really are.  So how well do you know Jesus?  How well do you see Him?

God told us how to grow in our knowledge of Jesus and thus come to see Him and His light more fully.  He inspired Peter to instruct Christians to diligently add certain traits to their faith (2 Peter 1:5-7):  virtue (literally in the Greek, striving to be the best Christian one could be), knowledge (of God’s will for us), the discipline of self-control, the longsuffering of perseverance, godliness which comes from being devoted to God, brotherly kindness which leads us to love our fellow man, and love which causes active goodwill towards others.  God through Peter went on to promise that “if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).

That’s how we come to really know Jesus and thus fully see the light He is shining to guide us away from darkness and hell and to the eternal life of heaven.  Getting to know Jesus better is far more than simply increasing our intellectual knowledge of Him.  We need to have knowledge of what the Bible teaches about His life and teachings, no doubt.  Yet if we do not become more like Him, having knowledge of what He said and did is nothing more than an academic exercise.  The only way we become more like Him is when we develop these Christ-like attributes Peter wrote about.

It starts with obeying the gospel through faith, repentance and baptism.  When we believe in Jesus with all of our heart, we are prompted to repent of our sins and wash them away when we are baptized (Acts 2:38; 8:35-38; 22:16).  The act of baptism spiritually clothes us with Christ and places us within Him, within His body which is His church (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12:13; cf. Ephesians 1:22-23).  That’s when God saves us and makes us a Christian, a child of His.  At that point, we begin to get to know Jesus and see His light.  We then grow to know Him better and allow His light to guide us to heaven by growing in our faith in the ways Peter described above.

Friends, how well do you know Jesus?  How well are you seeing the light?