Question: how many evolutionists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: just one, but it will take millions of years. Question: how many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: only one, but the bulb has really got to want to change. Question: how many real men does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: none. Real men aren't afraid of the dark. Question: how many real women does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: none. A real woman will have plenty of real men around to do it. Question: how many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: one, but it takes at least three bulbs. Question: how many football players does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: the entire team and they all get a semester's credit for it. How many board meetings does it take to get a light bulb changed? Answer: this topic was resumed from last week's discussion but it's incomplete pending resolution of some action items. It will continue next week. Answer: how many Floridians does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: we don't know for sure. They're still counting. C'mon, it's only been ten years since that election. You should realize what that's about. We come, in John chapter 8, to the second significant "I am" statement made by Jesus in the Gospel of John. There are seven. The first one is "I am the bread of life", that was chapter 6. This is the second one. "I am the light of the world." We in New Mexico understand that, perhaps better than some because we have 310 days of abundant sunshine. We have a lot of light and that's a good thing because our chiles really need that sunshine. We want to protect them babies, right? But over in the Pacific Northwest, there's a phenomenon called light deprivation. It's an area where there's a lot of clouds and not so much sunshine. I've been in areas of the world where they monitor the sunshine by number of hours per year. That'd be pretty dreary to live that way. But with light deprivation, a person gets moody. There are mood swings and even depression. There's even a scientific name for that. It's called Seasonal Affective Disorder or the initials S.A.D. commonly called simply SAD. The SAD syndrome. And people that have that will bring light panels into their home during times of no sunlight and that kind of light from the lamp equals, they try to match the Kelvin temperature of sunlight, so that a person can make up for it. And what they have discovered in all of this is that we physically and emotionally need light. Our bodies, our minds, require light. That is why when they wanted to torture prisoners years ago, they'd put them in dark dungeons. Man cannot thrive or even survive without light. I'm using that, of course, to segway to a spiritual truth. People can't thrive or survive spiritually without Sonlight. S-o-n-light. The light of God's Son, Jesus Christ. But sunshine can be intimidating. Light can be intimidating. Light can be assaulting. When you wake up in the morning and you first turn on that bathroom light. Or you open the curtain or somebody does it for you when you're not expecting it and you go, oooh! Turn that off! Your eyes are saying, we prefer darkness rather than light, because you've grown accustomed to that. The people in John chapter 8 are blinded by the light. That's the name of this message: "Blinded by the Light". Those in the crowd, some of them, many of the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus Christ, the light of the world, comes on the scene, shows up their darkness, they want the light turned off. Well you'll recognize the title if you're old enough. 1973 Bruce Springsteen wrote the song "Blinded by the Light". It was made famous in 1977 by Mannford Mann. The lyrics of that song, however, speak about being blinded by the light of fame and wealth that comes with the rock-and-roll industry. We want to talk about the light of truth and being blinded to that light. We're gonna begin in verse 12 of John chapter 8. We'll read down to verse 20, a verse we remarked on last time. "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." The Pharisees therefore said to Him, "You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true." Jesus answered and said to them, "Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me." Then they said to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also." These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come." There's three groups of people in that story, or I should say one individual and two groups. There's Christ Himself. There are then Christ followers that He mentions in verse 12 and then there are Christ haters, the ones that confront Him. Look at it this way. Christ claims something about Himself in verse 12. I am the light of the world. We want to consider that. Then He claims something for those who follow Him, whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life. But then third, we see what happens to those who deny His claims. And that is the rest of the verses. I principally want to hone in, however, on this verse, verse 12, this morning. Let's consider that first claim. "Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world." You should know a little bit of the background to help understand this claim. We saw last week that Jesus was in the treasury. It says that down in verse 20. That is the court of the women. The treasury is where they had these collection boxes known as trumpets because they were in the shape of a trumpet: narrow throat on top that broadened out beautifully on the bottom and collections were taken. So there was a lot of people, lot of traffic, in that area of the temple because everyone was required to put in one-half shekel of temple tax. So these trumpets or like fancy agape boxes were there. That's where Jesus was teaching. But do you remember a couple of messages ago when we said that one of the celebrations at the Feast of Tabernacles formed the background for the claim that Jesus made? Remember how we said when they poured water on the stones of the temple is when Jesus said whoever thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. It was a very poignant moment and place. In the same way, where Jesus spoke this and when Jesus spoke this there's some background to it that will help. The feast that just ended was the Feast of what? Tabernacles. It lasted one week. That was done. The very next day, Jesus comes into the temple, goes to the court, starts teaching, that's where He is now. They bring a woman caught in adultery. That's the setting. When that Feast of Tabernacles began, the very first night, there was a ceremony called the Illumination of the Temple. The Illumination of the Temple. They'd put four huge candelabras in the court of the women where Jesus was. Now if you can look over to this piano here, this is a candelabras. It's a very small one. It's a menorah, a symbol of the state of Israel and what was in the tabernacle. But the ones that were placed in the court of the women during the Feast of Tabernacles were as tall as the very walls of the temple itself. Huge. And you see these little cups? The ones on those four candelabras? 65 gallons of oil apiece. So imagine how immense--65 gallon vats atop the candelabra. There were four of them. Huge wicks that came out of them. so when those puppies were lit, everything was lit up. And according to the Mishnah, on that first night, which was the great celebration, the Illumination of the Temple, all of Jerusalem was reflected with the glory that they could see in the temple. It lit up everything. And the Mishnah says that the wisest, godliest, holiest, most learned men of Israel would dance through the court of the women singing psalms and listening to psalms of praise all night to the early morning. That is the place that Jesus says, "I am the light of the world." It's one week after that illumination ceremony. Question: what do you think, with that Illumination of the Temple, they were celebrating? What happened in the wilderness, what did they see in the wilderness, what did they follow in the wilderness, that made them celebrate that with fire now? A pillar of fire, right? The Bible says there was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night so wherever they went they... it was lit up. So here's Jesus, in effect saying, you had one great celebration where this whole city was lit up for one night. One night. If you follow Me, however, you won't just have light for one exciting evening, I will light up your life. I am the light of the world. Now you'll notice that in verse 13 immediately there was hostility. The Pharisees answered and said to Him, "You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true." You ever wonder why they were so immediately hostile to Jesus? Whatever He did. Whatever He said. They were just like on His case, on His tail, especially when He says I am the light of the world. Why would they be so hostile? Listen carefully. They were hostile because they knew that He was making a very huge claim. The language, light, according to Jewish terminology and Jewish Scripture, was a title reserved for one person alone--and that's God. So here's Jesus saying I am the light of this world and they were Bible nerds. They were Bible scholars. They knew every text in the Old Testament, or many of them. Listen. Here's a sampling of a few texts from the Old Testament, familiar ones. The Lord, Psalm 27 verse 1, The Lord is my light and my salvation. The Lord is. Isaiah 60 verse 19: The Lord will be your everlasting light and your God shall be your glory. Job 29: His lamp shone upon my head and by His light I will walk through darkness (speaking of God in heaven). Micah chapter 7 verse 8: When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be light to me. So when He says I am the light of the world, like all of His other claims, they understood this guy is claiming not just to be a guy. He's claiming to be our God! Now if there's one thing I hope by now you have understood about the Gospel of John is that is his theme. Over and over and over and over and over in chapter after chapter after chapter, John wants you to know that this guy Jesus always claimed to be God in a body. And that's why He gets into trouble. They celebrated a week before the Illumination of the Temple, the Shekinah glory of God in the wilderness, here's Jesus saying, that light that guided you in the desert and protected you and directed you--that's Me. I am the light of the world. Now for those of us who are Christians, we're not surprised that He would make this claim because, if you remember, as soon as Jesus was born it was predicted. Even before He was born. But at His birth, significantly so, they brought Jesus as a little baby to be dedicated in the temple. And Simeon, remember that old guy who took that little infant and raised that baby up and looked up into heaven, uttered a beautiful prayer and a prophecy and he said in Luke chapter 1, because of God's tender mercy, the light from heaven is about to break upon us and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death and to guide us in the path of peace. What an astonishing claim. Christ. If you look at the second part of verse 12, there's a shift that takes place. He turns from claiming something about Himself to now claiming something about those who follow Him. He said, "He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." Picture the scene. the Pharisees had just been there. They had stones in their hands ready to throw them at that woman caught in adultery. Well they dropped those stones. They fled the scene. Jesus was left alone to deal in mercy with that woman caught in adultery. But that crowd was still there. And now Jesus is addressing them in verse 12, He said to them, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness. That crowd had just seen a group of men with rocks in their hands with darkened hearts ready to kill that woman. It's as if Jesus is saying, you don't have to live that way. You don't have to live with that kind of darkness. If you follow Me, if you follow Me, you will walk in light. You will have the light of life. And because most of us here this morning are followers of Christ, I want to spend really the bulk of this message applying that second part of verse 12. That phrase. That second part of verse 12 says something to us about our internal condition. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life. In a word: confidence. If you follow Jesus Christ, you should have confidence in your life where you're walking. Think back to the wilderness. As long as that cloud of protection by day and that fire was with them by night, they didn't have to worry about where they were going. They would just follow, right? And at night, no matter how dark it was out in the desert, that pillar of fire lit up everything. They didn't have to have any kind of fear, they didn't have to stumble around, they were never confused, and following Jesus Christ is like following that pillar. The way is lit up. Your life makes sense. You have the light of life. You have the spark of life. You have the joy of life. The lift in your step. I was watching the other night on television a little segment on healthcare and health trends in America. And one of the moderators made the point that Europeans have a longer lifespan than Americans. And they were trying to show that the healthcare here needs to be like their healthcare, etcetera, and they were talking about life expectancy and so as I'm listening to this, I'm thinking yeah, but it's one thing to live longer. It's quite another thing to live better. You see, medical science can add years to your life. But only Jesus Christ can add life to your years. You'll have the light of life. Just like a flower won't blossom without sunlight, your life will never be what it ought to be without the light of Christ. In fact, people without Christ are very disoriented and very confused and very apt to follow so many other things--anything almost--to navigate this life. And at the end often become very, very, very pessimistic. I have read so many quotes and I have heard those quotes by some famous people who've reached their goals, become famous, had lots of money, and at the end go, I'm empty. One of the most pressing quotes I ever read I brought with me this morning, aren't I a nice guy? Dr. Albert Zent Gyorge was awarded the Nobel Prize, the Nobel Laureate, in medicine and physiology. He was asked the question if you were 20 years old again, what would you do? Listen, listen to how low his answer gets. He said if I were 20 years old today, I would share with my classmates the rejection of the world as it is. Is there any point in studying and work? Fornication, at least that is something good. What else is there to do? Fornicate and take drugs against this terrible strain of idiots who govern the world. Closed quote. Happy guy. Would you go to him for counseling? Now why so fatalistic? Well it's simple. Without the light of life, the world is disorienting, depressing, and senseless. It's sort of like trying to navigate through an obstacle course with a blindfold. Can you imagine trying to drive through New York City blindfolded? I see the way people drive around here. It's as if they have a blindfold. So this little phrase says something about our internal condition. But it says something more. It says something to us about our external behavior. Look at the word walk. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness. That's a very commonly used word in the New Testament, parapetio, which means to walk at large or to walk around or to walk about. He's just out walking. But it has a very significant spiritual meaning. It's used figuratively for one's entire lifestyle. So you'll read in the Bible phrases like walk in the Spirit, which means order your whole life according to the submission to the Holy Spirit. Walk in love, the Bible says, which means your whole lifestyle should be filled with love toward people. Don't walk after the flesh but walk after the spirit. Don't walk in darkness but walk in light. The idea is the external behavior changes when you come to Christ. You're not self-centered anymore. It's not all about you. You don't worship yourself. But that's replaced by that pure, bright, God-obeying, God-honoring lifestyle. Number three, it says something about our spiritual influence. Zero in on that little phrase have the light of life. Just think about that for a moment. Whoever follows Me won't walk around in darkness but will have the light of life. If it helps, picture holding something, grabbing a hold of something. You have it. You have something. You see, it's not just that light comes to you to help you navigate your way through life, it's as if you now have your own little shaft of light. You're like a little shaft of light. Better analogy: you reflect the greater light like the moon to the sun. you're not the source of light, but like the moon that gives light at night, it's simply reflecting the glory of the sun. That's what we are to do. there was a little boy who lived in a run-down apartment, a tenement building, in New York City, very run-down. He was out playing one day and in the middle of the day he stood in the courtyard of the tenement building and he had a little broken piece of mirror. And he was holding it up just to get the sun just so in the mirror and reflecting the sunlight to a window almost at the top level. Well the neighbors thought he was some little pest, little mischievous kid, trying to blind people, and so one of the neighbors said, hey what are you doing down there with that mirror? And the little boy said listen, up on that floor almost to the top, that window, my brother's in that room. He's disabled. The only sunlight he'll ever get is what I bounce up to him from this little mirror. How about thinking of your life like that? You go different places and you shine, you reflect, you have the light and you reflect that glory of the light in all of the dark places wherever you go. You see, there's a correlation between following Christ, the light, and reflecting that light. Evangelism. I want you to see a key verse. You read this one; I am the light of this world. Now go, just turn the page, one page, John chapter 9. John chapter 9 verse 5. Jesus has just said in chapter 8 I'm the light of the world. Look what He says in chapter 9 of John verse 5: "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Piggyback another verse with those two and I think you'll get the picture. On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to His followers, you are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Did you get that? You are the light of the world. You are the light of the world. As long as I am in the world, I'm the light of the world but I'm going up to My Father so guess what you are now? The light of the world. If they don't see light, it's because you didn't bring it to them. You didn't turn that mirror just so so as to reflect it. That's why Paul says in Ephesians you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. You're to be that light. I'm to be that light. You know according to one pastor there's two reasons why people haven't become Christians. Number one, they've never met a Christian. Number two, they have met a Christian. You get my drift. The power of our influence can be staggering in a person's life as we reflect His glory. You know, so often we complain about the darkness that we see. This world is so bad! We're good at that. We Christians are really good at noticing all the bad stuff and here we are going, yeah, you know when I was a kid, it wasn't that bad, it's so bad today. Right? We all do that. This world needs more glow-in-the-dark Christians who'll just be around saying ok, it's dark, what a great opportunity for light. I mean, right? The darker it gets, the more the light is noticeable. They said in World War II the blackouts were so bad you could see somebody strike a match from miles away. Great opportunity. So this little phrase in verse 12 says something about our internal condition, our external behavior, our spiritual influence, number four it says something about our eternal destiny. You know that the Bible promises that you won't just shine now but you'll shine forever and ever? Here's the promise; here's the thought. If you follow Jesus now, He's the light. And if you reflect His glory now, like a mirror does, or like the moon does the sun, if you do that, you will shine forever. You will be celebrated in the kingdom forever. Lest you think I'm making that up, listen to Daniel chapter 12 verse 3: those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. Isn't that a great thought? Isn't it a great thought that after the sun burns out and all the constellations die out and there's a new heaven and a new earth, you'll still be shining. Jesus said as much. Matthew 13: then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. I've always loved the story about the little boy who went into a cathedral one day and he'd never seen stained glass windows like that. And if you've ever been into a grand cathedral some of that glass is so intricately cut and when the light shines through the window it's like magnificent. So he looked up and he saw people in these windows and more people in these windows and they in the cathedral told the little boy that those were saints, that's saint so-and-so and that's saint so-and-so and he went, wow! The next day was church and the test in Sunday school class was does anybody here know what a saint is? And he raised his hand up and goes, I know what a saint is! A saint is a guy that light shines through. What a great description. How about a life that light shines through. Light shines through, the light of life. And you will shine forever. So that is Christ and those are Christ's followers. That's what He claims for them. Now we have the Christ haters. Immediately in verse 13, "The Pharisees therefore said to Him, "You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true." Now according to Jewish law, nothing could be established without witnesses. Two or three witnesses. The Bible says ever matter shall be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses. What they're saying to Jesus is, Your evidence is inadmissible. You're just making claims! Where are the witnesses? Jesus said, "Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from" that would be heaven, "And where I am going" that would be heaven, "But you do not know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one." That's just what happened with the woman. They were ready to judge her and throw stones at her and He said neither do I condemn thee. "And yet if I do judge," and He will, "My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me." Now follow me here. The Law in the Old Testament that they were operating under, and Jesus refers to, these were laws given by God to men. Jesus claims exemption from those laws because He is God in human flesh. And even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true and I have the Father's witness as well. It supersedes any kind of human witness. Now they say something in verse 19 that I want you to notice. "They said to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Now this could simply mean they were very sweet and ignorant and just sort of said, well, we'd like to meet your dad, where is He? I don't think so. I think they said that with sort of that little look in their eye and that little smirk on their face that said yeah, you know, we've heard that You were virgin born. In other words, they doubted the legitimacy of His birth. Ever since He was born, the rumor went around, and it surfaces in the New Testament, that He was an illegitimate child in that marriage. This is a slur, I believe, to the legitimacy of His birth. Well obviously they hated Jesus. No matter what He did, no matter what He said, no matter how many miracles He performed, no matter how many lives were changed, they hated Him. And here's a principle here. When Jesus is loved and Jesus is received and Jesus is followed, He becomes light to you. When Jesus is hated and rejected and spurned, Jesus becomes darkness to you. Think back to that analogy we've been working off of this morning, that of the pillar of fire in the wilderness that they celebrated in the temple. There they were, the children of Israel would look up and that pillar of fire would guide them at night and would light up the wilderness. It says though, in Exodus chapter 14, when the Egyptians were coming against the children of Israel and that pillar of fire formed a buffer between the Israelites and the Egyptians. Listen to what it says in the text: throughout that night, the cloud brought darkness to one side and it brought light to the other side. Same cloud. On one side, it was well lit, they could see everything. On the other side, it was dark. Jesus Christ when loved and received becomes light; when rejected and hated becomes darkness. R. Kent Hughes wrote a fine book on the Gospel of John and he amplifies this application when he says this: Hugh Hefner was raised in a minister's home. Joseph Stalin studied for the priesthood. Mao Tse Tung was raised under missionary teaching. See the very light of Jesus Christ itself becomes darkness to those who hate Christ. A word of caution. You're gonna go out, I hope, we're gonna go out, you already do, you're gonna go out and shine the light of Christ. You're gonna say I'm getting my mirror out; I'm getting my mirror ready, man. I'm ready to take the light of Jesus Christ and light up the world. Great. Just know that not everybody likes that. Just like when somebody turns the light on to you and your eyes have grown accustomed to the dark and you go, Ugh! Turn that off! Jesus, if you remember back in chapter 3, said everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed. And this is why people hate the light. They hate the light of the truth; hate the light of the gospel. You preach the gospel to people, they, unless they're willing to receive Christ, will hate it because the light reveals what the darkness conceals. And that is flaws. You turn on the light, you ever looked in a mirror with a really, really bright, good light? You go... something's wrong with the light here. needs to be darker, softer. You're saying that because that light, the most unflattering light, is direct light. That's why when you get a picture with a flash directly at you, you go, eww. It's truthful. People don't like it. So that's the word of caution when you bring the mirror out. Be, be wise as serpents, harmless as doves. It could be that your own personal life is in the shadows. You haven't been walking with Christ. Every step to you is just uncertain and confusing and Jesus is saying to you hey, step into the light. Follow Me. You won't walk in darkness. You'll have the light of life. So I'm encouraging you to do the same thing you do at night when you come home and it's dark in your house. You walk in the door and you do what? Flip on the light. Turn on. Jesus is saying, come on, follow Me, turn on the light. That's the invitation this morning. If you haven't done that, that you would make a conscious decision to follow Christ.