#12: JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF LIFE
Autumn, A. D. 29, during the feast of Tabernacles, Jerusalem
As sundown arrives, four young men carry 10 gallon pitchers of oil into the Court of Women. At one end of the Court of Women is the “Beautiful Gate” leading into the Gentile Court and at the other end is the “Great Gate” leading into the Israeli Court. The four youths pass “the treasury” where 13 trumpet-shaped offering containers line the wall of the temple treasury. The four approach four giant candelabra, each about 75 feet tall, which were set up for the Festival. The purpose of the candelabra is to remind everyone of the pillar of fire which, by night, guided their forefathers through the wilderness in the days in which this feast was first instituted.
When they arrive at the candelabra, the four young men climb ladders to reach the four golden bowls on each of them and they fill the bowls with oil. A group of musical priests play a joyful psalm to the Lord. Some dance. Other Levites slowly climb the 15 steps which lead up to the inner court while they chant from The Psalms of Ascents (Psalm 120-134).
Jesus comes into this part of the temple and watches the young men light each one of the four bowls of each candelabra. Suddenly, 16 mighty blazes of fire leap into the sky! The temple is on a hill above the rest of the city, so the fire illuminates not only the temple precincts, but also the whole city. The priests shout in unison, “Lord, You gave them a great fire to illuminate the darkness!” (Psalm 105:39b) Then Jesus shouts, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12b, NIV). As the light of the candelabra lights up the dark night, the light of the words of Jesus dispel spiritual darkness.
Immediately, Pharisees who hate the true light rush to challenge Jesus,
“Your testimony has no authority or validity because you are witnessing about yourself! We are tired of your false claims.”
Jesus answers, “Even if I give witness about myself, my witness is true, because I have knowledge of where I came from and where I am going; . . . Even in your law it is said that the witness of two men is true. I give witness about myself and the Father who sent me gives witness about me.” “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:14, 17-18, Bas, 24, NIV).
The prophet warned, “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:20a, NIV). The penalty for sin is death; only through trust in this righteous man who never sinned and paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, can one receive forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life.
Comment: I love Jesus’ promise recorded in John 8:12: “I Am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12b). Over the years, it seems the world has grown darker. Today many are living in spiritual darkness and in the shadow of death (Matthew 4:16). But I am thankful that God’s light has dawned upon us and that even now His Spirit is drawing people to believe in Jesus and His Good News. He is our Light and Salvation (Psalm 27:1). His Word enlightens our pathway as we believe it and speak it to ourselves and to others (Psalm 119:105, 130). As we follow Him, there is and always will be spiritual light to walk in. In fact, “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of the dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day” (Proverbs 4:18, NLT). As you follow the Lord, expect that to be the case in your life. Expect to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).
Note: much of this devotional is from The Life of Jesus Foretold, pages 180-181.