Daily Archives: May 18, 2023



Jesus said, “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 (NIV).

What a lovely idea, but what does it mean?

“Western” thinking people would immediately conjure up a mental picture of Jesus holding a lamp and walking ahead to light the way for us who follow Him. A Hebrew person would ask the question, “What does a light do?” Light reveals, exposes and allows us to see pictures of our environment and shows us the way to go.

Jesus’ statement is loaded with Old Testament connotations, for example, to say “I am” was to claim the name “Yahweh” which is the covenant name of God! To invite people to follow Him would refer to the Israelites’ experience in the wilderness when they were led by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. They were going to take possession of their inheritance – the Promised Land of Canaan, with all the ramifications of that promise made to their ancestor, Abraham.

Jesus is therefore extending an invitation to anyone who would follow Him, since he is God, and has the authority and power to take us to our promised inheritance, to become His disciples, and to imitate Him because He is the way to the kingdom of God and eternal life.

The Hebrew concepts of “light” and “darkness” help us understand how to follow Him. The Hebrews spoke of “the eye of light” (the yetzer tov) and “the evil eye” or “the eye of darkness” (the yetzer harah); for example, Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good (yetzer tov) your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, (yetzer harah), your whole body will be full of darkness…” Matthew 22,23a (NIV).

“Light”, here, means the ability to look beyond yourself to see the needs of others, to be generous and do something for them to make their lives better. “Darkness”, by contrast, is the inability to see beyond yourself; it is the selfish and greedy eye that is only concerned with your own needs and wants. A person with the yetzer harah had no desire or ability to share his resources with anyone else.

Jesus told a story about a person with a yetzer harah (Luke 12:13-21). A rich man’s farm produced an abundant crop. Instead of using his abundance to share with needy people, he decided to store it all up for himself. Then he could take life easy and would not need to work so hard. Jesus called him a fool, not because he was rich but because he was not rich towards God.

Since Jesus is the most loving, caring, and generous person who ever lives, He promises that, if we follow Him, we will never be greedy or selfish. Instead, we will experience the joy of really living by caring for others.