Mar 15, 2017 –I am the Light of the World II
Tonight as we look into the scandal of Jesus claiming to be the I Am – Yahweh God – we see Him drawing His followers into a closer understanding of this and what that means for them to believe this. In verse 4 Jesus speaks of ‘We must do the works of him who sent me…” Jesus includes the disciples in the acting and the doing of what God the Father has sent Jesus, the Son, to accomplish.
This is important to see as Jesus is drawing the disciples into recognizing that the work of Jesus is now their work as well. It’s important for them to see this because, as we come to the end of this verse and get into the next verse, we come up against the time limit Jesus has left on earth to do these things.
In verse 5 Jesus makes His claim I Am the light of the world and that He is the One who gives the light whereby they together, can do the work God has given them of spreading the gospel of God. This verse is a clear indicator of the humanness of Jesus Christ. Don’t miss this; Jesus is fully human and this verse as much as any other indicates this to us.
Jesus is here saying that His time, His time on earth will come to an end… and He knows it. Does His work continue and does the light of His life give us light today? Yes, indeed. However, that is not the focus of this verse in its context. To be honest with the text we must understand that the pressure of time weighed on Jesus because He was truly human.
He knew that only with the time remaining to Him, before He went to the cross, would He be able to work the works and teach the teachings that would be necessary for His followers and ultimately the world, to understand the significance of the great I Am going to the cross.
So, Jesus saying I Am the light of the world in this context teaches us that He knew His time on earth, as the disciples knew Him, was limited and coming to its end. There would indeed be darkness because Jesus, then, would no longer be able to light their way.
Once He had died; from then on, they would no longer see Him in the same way. The disciples would no longer know Him as only their rabbi, but also as their risen Lord. He would no longer be the Man who walked with them in the flesh but rather He would sojourn in them through the power of the Holy Spirit. He would be the crucified and risen savior of the world and not be confined to the limits that He lived under while He was with them.
This intimate time would be at an end and Jesus understood this. His time of I AM the light that has come into the world, as the promised fulfillment of prophecy and scripture would end: with His death.
Consider how a match works. Its light is in and of itself. It’s only useful for a certain amount of time. But when you take that match and place it in the midst of a pile of paper, wood and kindling, the match is used up and is lost in the bonfire that results from its efforts. That’s a poor analogy but perhaps it sheds a bit of ‘light’ on understanding Jesus’ time on earth in the flesh before His death and resurrection.
We tend to think of Jesus time with the disciples as a glorious thing and something that would be obvious to all. But remember, what we know of Jesus life, death, resurrection and ascension hasn’t, at the time of speaking these words, all transpired yet. The time that Jesus had on earth was limited. He knew it and was teaching this to the disciples. God limited Jesus time so that with the end of His earthly time, the fire of His love could be seen timelessly by the whole world in the cross and resurrection of Christ. So, Jesus as the I am the light of the world, had an expiration date on it as far as the earthly experience of Jesus and His disciples were concerned.
The contrast of light and dark that Jesus speaks of in verse 4 as we started with is evident in the blind man Jesus heals also. Darkness is this mans natural-born state. We will talk more about him on Sunday in few weeks. But for now, the only thing that changes his darkness is God’s intervention through the action of Jesus. This mirrors what Jesus is doing as His time on earth comes to an end. He is going to die so that He might defeat death forever and for everyone who believes in Him. And in doing that, in that action of His, Jesus will bring the light of life to all who will trust in Him, just as this man trusted in Jesus and so was transformed from his darkness to light.
Our natural state is darkness, just as we talked of last week about the natural state of the universe is darkness. And it is only by the word of God speaking light into being that darkness is overcome. This man’s darkness is turned into light by Jesus. And Jesus by His work on the cross and in the tomb, that will mark the end of His time on earth, will also dispel all our darkness because He is as He says today, Yahweh, ego emi, I am the light of the world. In His name, amen.
Sermon #876 Rev. Thomas A. Rhodes, Pastor – Zion Lutheran Church, Bolivar, MO
Holy Gospel John 9:1-12
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3″Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7″Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10″How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded. 11He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” 12″Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said.