“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Jesus spoke a lot about light. The book of John begins by calling Jesus the Light of the World that the darkness could not overcome, or comprehend.
Jesus told the disciples to walk while the light was with them (alluding to himself) so they would not stumble.
Light is really important. The lighthouse saved ships from running aground on rocky shores that might not be visible at night. We all know those times when we don’t turn on the light because we’re just crossing the room to … yeah, and that doesn’t work out well every time we do that.
When you stop to think about the statement Jesus made, though, it is truly remarkable. He didn’t claim to be a light. Rather, He was the light. He wasn’t the light of some people. He was the light of the world!
Going deeper, Jesus was calling to mind things that these Jewish Israelites would know from their scrolls and religion: The wilderness wanderings of the Hebrews.
He claimed to be the “bread of life,” referencing the manna. He claimed to be the source of “living water,” calling to mind the stone which Moses struck and from which water poured out for their needs.
Here, Jesus declares that he’s the light of the world that leads the way God wants us to go. This points back to the pillar of cloud and fire that led the people through the wilderness toward the promised land. That mystical cloud that shone brightly with God’s divine light, similar to the flame that illumined, but did not consume the bush, would move, and the people would follow. It would stay, and the people remained. It led in paths that didn’t appear to make sense. It remained when maybe other places might be more appealing. But it directed them in the way of the Lord.
Jesus claimed that role, the light unto our path. Where He leads, we must follow. Where he stops, we must stay. We must walk with Him, or we’re liable to stumble, as we do when we lean on our own understanding.