Today’s gospel reading contains one of the most famous verses in the Bible. The verse I am speaking about is of course 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.’ ”
I know it is famous, but what does Jesus mean by his statement? I feel there are a couple of meanings, so let’s examine them.
First, this is one of the “I am” passages found in John’s gospel. Other examples include water and bread. Like water and bread, light is necessary for life. In fact it is essential for life. Thus, Jesus is saying he is essential for a life lived to its fullest. Just as water, bread, and light are mandatory for human life on earth, Jesus is the mandatory element for a life that will lead to heaven. In fact he is the only way to spiritual life with the Father.
Second, light takes away darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. When you or I go out into the night, say on a camping trip, we normally take a flash light or lantern with us. Why? So we can see where we are going and avoid tripping or running into something we cannot see. So we can remove the darkness with light. Thus Jesus is saying that by following him we will avoid darkness, we will avoid unseen hazards, and we will live a full life. Just as we follow our flash light in the darkness to avoid hazards, Jesus calls each of us to follow him so we can avoid the dangers of darkness.
Wishing you the best in your walk with Christ,