We continue our topic of Jesus referring to Himself as the Great I AM, the One who revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush. When Moses asked God about His name, the LORD answered Moses to tell the children of Israel that I AM that I AM was sending him to them. God was saying that I am all you need me to be.
During the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, there were two grand ceremonies. The first one was the Water Libation Ceremony where the priest poured water from a chalice at the Altar of Burnt Offering. At that time, just before the pouring out of the water; Jesus stood higher than all present and shouted for all to hear, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him" (John 7:37-38). The apostle John clarifies that the Lord was speaking of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
The second ceremony was called the Illumination of the Temple. In the Court of the Women were four large candelabra's or candlesticks. The Mishnah (Sukkah 5:2-3) tells us that each candlestick had four great golden bowls with a ladder at each, enabling the younger priests to climb up and fill the bowls with oil and set them alight when it got dark. Because the Temple Mount was the highest point in the city, the candlesticks' blaze lit up most of Jerusalem. During the Feast of Tabernacles, the Jewish people were commanded by God to celebrate for seven days (Numbers 29:12), so all night long, there was dancing and rejoicing before the Lord. It could very well be that at twilight, as the young priests were lighting the lamps, Jesus said the words,
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).
In the above Scripture, Jesus is again claiming that He is God in the flesh. The “I Am” part of His statement was the Greek form of the Hebrew revelation of when God said to Moses,
God said to Moses, “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).
Jesus didn't say I am a light or even one of the lights. The statement is exclusive, "I am the light of the world.” The Pharisees and rulers heard His word, which again says a lot about the character of Jesus—He didn't say these things just to His disciples. He spoke to all people about His identity, whether for or against Him. Christ did not whisper these things to only a few but courageously spoke the truth and let the chips fall where they may. He was not fearful of telling the truth in the slightest. The Pharisees immediately challenged Him because they understood that it was a claim to divinity. God had spoken to them several times that He was their light, “The Lord is my light” (Psalm 27:1). “The Lord will be your everlasting light” (Isaiah 60:19). “By his light I walked through darkness” (Job 29:3).
Jesus is the Light of the World, the God who wants to come alongside us and lead the way through the darkness you may be encountering. Whatever trials you are going through, Christ is the Light that led the children of Israel out of the darkness of their lives in Egypt, and if you ask Him, He will be your light in the middle of the nighttime today. Keith Thomas
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