A lot of people in this world are lost. They seek a good life. A good marriage. A good job. And most of all, joy and peace. And yet, somehow, these things elude them. People have been like this ever since Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden.
Then Jesus came. And when he did, he declared,
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (12)
In other words, “Do you want a good life? A life that works? A life filled with joy and peace? Are you stumbling around because you simply cannot see how to achieve these things. Look to me. I will give you the light you need to see. You won’t stumble around, lost in the dark anymore. You’ll have life.”
Yet so many people like the Pharisees and teachers of the law question Jesus’ qualifications. Just who is he? What gives him the right to say something like that?
If he were just a man, he wouldn’t have any right. Because none of us is all-wise or all-knowing. But Jesus is more than just a man. He is God himself.
Jesus told the Jews as much, saying,
Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad. (56)
The Jews responded, “What are you talking about? You’re not even 50 years old and you have seen Abraham?”
I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am! (58)
What exactly was Jesus saying? He was pointing the Jews back to Exodus chapter 3, where God appeared to Moses in the burning bush. And when Moses asked God’s name, God replied,
I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14)
In short, God was saying, “I am. I have always been. And I will always be. I am the eternal one. And there is none besides me.”
Jesus took that phrase and applied it to himself.
The Jews understood it. They immediately picked up stones to kill him. Why? Because they didn’t believe he was God. And if Jesus wasn’t God, to say that he was God was blasphemy and worthy of death.
How about you? Is Jesus just a man to you? Just a good man? A prophet perhaps? Or simply a great teacher? If he is, then you can take what he says or leave it.
But if he is God, then you need to take what he says seriously. Because if you’re ever going to have light in your life, you can only find it in him. And if you reject him, in the end, you will find only death. Not just physical death, but spiritual death. Eternity apart from God, and all the darkness, suffering, and sorrow that goes with it.
Jesus tells us,
If you do not believe that I am, you will indeed die in your sins. (John 8:24)
Do you believe Jesus is God? More importantly, are you following him?