In this sermon, Paul Mursalin (Guyana) reflects on Jesus’ emphatic statement: “ I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Paul reminds us that the miracles Jesus performed were followed or preceded by a spiritual message. The spiritual message incorporates the deeper and broader objectives.
Scripture reading: John 8:12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
According to the Apostle John, Jesus was teaching the people, sometime during the last week of His life on the earth. In the course of His teaching, He made the claim that He is the light of the world. The Pharisees, who were around and listened to Him, objected on the grounds that He was making those claims about Himself.
In their estimation, such a claim is merely self-promotion and consequently not valid. Jesus told them that His claim is valid even though He made it about Himself. Jesus then proceeds to authenticate the claim by explaining that He cannot be judged by human standards. There are facts about Him which they are not aware of and by virtue of those facts they cannot pronounce on His claims.
The validity of His claim is rooted in His eternality. He knew where He came from, His pre-existence and He knows where He is going, John 8:14. He came from eternity and He will be returning to eternity. The Pharisees have rejected Him as the Messiah; consequently, they will never be able to understand who He is or accept any of His claims.
Throughout His ministry on the earth, Jesus took the time and effort to demonstrate His claims by manifesting the supernatural. There was one end to all His miracles which was to establish that He came from the Father and the Father fully sanctions everything He does. A Miracle is not an end in itself but rather a means to an end. The miracles Jesus performed were followed or preceded by a spiritual message. The claims He made were all backed by the demonstration of the supernatural and have a clear spiritual message.
Jesus healed thousands of people at a time. Matthew 4:23-25 and other similar passages indicate the spread and scope of miraculous manifestations. The woman who had touched the hem of His garment and was healed from hemorrhage was not the only case of that type of miracle.
Mark 6:53-56 confirmed that as many as touched Him were healed. The Gospel writers, however, carefully selected and recorded thirty five of the many thousands of miracles Jesus performed. Each category of recorded miracles have very strong and powerful spiritual messages behind them.
It is not sufficient to judge the miracles of Jesus only on the basis of a manifestation of the supernatural but also to search for its deeper meaning. The spiritual message which follows, incorporates the deeper and broader objectives. He healed the blind and taught that He is the Light of the world.
There were five recorded cases of Jesus healing the blind. People who were completely blind for many years were healed. Elderly people who were born blind received their healing and had total vision restoration. The core value and essence of healing the blind was expressed in an incident recorded by John in John 9:1-5. Jesus and His disciples met a man born blind. The disciples enquired as to whose sin might have fallen on the man thus resulting in him being born blind. They questioned whether it was his sins or the sins of his parents? Jesus dispelled every form of presupposition they had and maintained that the blindness was not the result of his or his parents’ sins’ but rather that the power of God might be manifested in His life and to show the love and compassion of God to the world.
The man’s blindness from birth, his being in the pathway of Jesus at the time, the multitude of people that were around at the time of the healing were all simply a set-up to confirm the love and grace of God. The deep spiritual lesson from this incident was made clear by Jesus. That while He is in the world, He is the light of the world. In our Scripture reading, Jesus made an emphatic statement, “I am the light of the world”.
Physical blindness is a state of physical darkness. One who is blind is in a world of darkness. It is a condition which is a type of the spiritual state of man.
The Scripture, in several places, posited that humanity is dead in trespasses and sins. The old nature of man inherited from Adam is sinful, fleshly and corrupted by sinful desires. The apostle Paul spoke of the works of the flesh. The apostle John alluded to the fact that if a person says he has no sin, then he is a liar.
In 2 Corinthians 4:4, the apostle Paul made the following statement: “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”
In all the recorded cases where Jesus healed the blind, it was to show that He can provide spiritual light and guidance to those in sin. He is the light of the world. Jesus said to His disciples that as long as He is in the world, He is the light of the world. Healing the blind man was followed by the teaching that He is the light of the world.
The claim that He is the light of the world was substantiated by the demonstration of healing of people who were physically blind.
Paul Mursalin from Guyana is a member of the International Board of Barnabas Fund
Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash