- Religion and Philosophy
John's Gospel -a new look number 9:chapter 8. "I am the light".
John's Gospel - A New Look. Number 9: Chapter 8 - The Light of the World.
Again Jesus speaks to the Pharisees and he now makes the amazing claim to be the "light of the world". The promise that he makes of a "light filled life" (8:12) is something that they cannot understand. They are living on a very earthly level and because of this their eyes are closed. They miss the very arrival of the Messiah that they were waiting for. With their hardened hearts and blind eyes they had failed to see, appreciate and apply God's principles in their lives and now failed to receive his Son. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is recorded as saying that the eyes are like a lamp to the body but if your eyes are blind you will be in darkness and that is where the religious leaders of their time were. (Mtt.6:22-23)
In the Old Testament the prophets like Isaiah saw a light coming. (Is. 60:1-3,19; cp. Revelation 22:5) This light arrived when Jesus, who is the light, came and he gives light to his followers. Here another of the seven "I AM" claims of Jesus continues with his statement that "I am the light". In 1 John cp 1 and cp 2, John continues with this theme of God being the light, and us walking in the light.
A discussion then begins between Jesus and the Pharisees about parenthood. To question a person's family was a great insult and here Jesus claims to come from his father who sent him and calls on God to be his witness.(vs.18) It is interesting that the Pharisees now ask him "Where is your father?" By then his earthly father Joseph had disappeared from the scene but Jesus has moved on to claiming his real father. He introduces the religious leaders of his time to a spiritual world that they failed to understand and so see.
Confusion reigns in the minds of the Pharisees who instead of listening to his great teaching, are more interested in maintaining their power at all costs. As the chapter continues they follow the normal route of people trying to maintain their positions - argument and then insult and finally violence.
As Jesus continues, John tells us that many who heard Jesus believed in him.(vs. 30)
The discussion now moves on to discipleship, truth and freedom. The Greek word translated as "free", is often used by Paul in his letters but only appears twice in John - in verses 33 and 36. Freedom from sin is obviously a vital part of the Christian life and Jesus had already introduced this thought in earlier chapters. The alternative is being a slave of sin which they obviously were. The claim of the Pharisees is that they have never been slaves of anyone - a rather confusing claim when you remember Egypt, Babylon and Rome to mention just a few who had enslaved them.
When they claim that Abraham is their father they are reminded by Jesus what Abraham stood for and how different they were. Abraham lived a life of obedience to God while they harboured hate in their hearts and despised the truth (vs.40). They did not love God and his messenger (vs.42) and they did not honour his Word, and in fact did not even know God (vs.46). Jesus then tells them exactly who their father is, and that is the Devil. The battle lines are now clearly drawn. It was obvious that the Pharisees did not like what he was teaching and saying. So now they attack him personally in the worst way they could by calling Jesus a Samaritan and having a demon. In other words a mad man.
While Jesus is establishing his deity in no uncertain terms, "before Abraham was born, I am" (vs. 58), the Pharisees resort to what they were best at doing to establish their position - violence. (vs.59)
In the next chapter the theme of sight and blindness will continue with the healing of the man born blind. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see!