A Word for Today | John 8:12
When we studied Jesus’ great invitation of John 7:37 – “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” – we noted that the water-pouring ceremony in the Feast of Tabernacles had a connection to events in the exodus – specifically, God providing water from the rock. There is a similar connection with the festival of lights that followed and Jesus’ claim to be the “light of the world.” Jerusalem’s light celebration recalled the pillar of fire that guided and protected Israel during their passage through the desert (Ex. 13:21). Just as Jesus satisfied the thirst of our souls, so also His light guides us through the dark paths of this world.
Jesus explained: “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). This means that we benefit from his coming only if we believe and follow Him. We follow Jesus the way the Israelites followed the pillar of fire. They trusted it to lead them and found protection under its shadow. As we follow Jesus, He relieves of us ignorance and folly by teaching us His Word. He protects us from the searing rays of God’s wrath, having paid the penalty of our sins on the cross. As He leads, we follow out from misery and fear until we arrive safely into the glories of heaven.
Because Jesus is the light of the world, let me encourage you to follow Him as you endure the coronavirus pandemic. Following means that we trust Him and live as His disciple. We follow Jesus to His cross, dying there to our sin. “If anyone would come after me,” Jesus taught, “let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk. 9:23). James Boice writes, “The path that Jesus walked is the path to crucifixion. It leads to glory, but before that it leads to the cross. Such a path can be walked only by the one who has died to self and who has deliberately taken up the cross of Christ to follow Him.”
If the greatest need of our world is to know and trust Jesus, then surely the second greatest need of the world is to see Christian examples who are following Jesus as their Light. We start wherever we are right now, simply trusting and living out God’s Word. As we do, rejoicing that Jesus is “the light of the world” for us, He then says to us, “You are the light of the world.” (Mt. 5:14). For when the light of Jesus has shined in our hearts so that we follow Him in trusting obedience, His light will shine through us to illuminate the world with His love.
In Christ’s Love,
 James Montgomery Boice, The Epistles of John (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979, reprint 2004), 60-61.