On Sunday morning we started a new series entitled “I Am Jesus.” What follows is a brief summary of that talk and some questions to help you reflect either on your own or in your small group. You can also listen to the talk or download it from our Sunday Talks page (the talks are usually available a bit later in the week).
When you were a child, were you ever afraid of the dark? Darkness is scary and you may be going through a situation or circumstance in your life right now which feels dark and scary. And if you’re not, you may well experience such a time in the future. Light banishes darkness and cuts through it. Where do we find light?
Jesus made an incredibly bold statement - he said “I am the light of the world.” The context in which he made that statement is right after an extraordinary encounter with a woman in a very dark moment in her life. You can read all about it in John’s account of Jesus’ life chapter 8 and verses 2 to 12. You can read that here.
This woman is caught right in the middle of the act of adultery and is dragged out in front of Jesus and the crowd. The law of the time said that anyone caught in adultery should be stoned to death. This woman is in the darkest, most humiliating and scary moment of her life. The people who bring her out in front of Jesus are just trying to use her to trap him. Notice that they didn’t bring out the man (last time I checked it took at least two people to commit adultery!) The man was just as guilty.
The woman had done a terrible thing. The law revealed her guilt and she was guilty. But the good news for the woman was that it didn’t stop there.
Jesus bent down in the dirt and when he got up, he said to those who were trying to trap him…”those of you without sin, you can throw the first stone.” These judgmental, arrogant people have the same problem we often do. It is incredibly easy to see the sins of others and overlook our own sins. Of course none of the crowd could say that they were without sin, so they slowly disappear and the woman is left with only Jesus. And he says to her some amazing words “I don’t condemn you.”
Jesus looks at her and really sees her. Where others have seen only a weapon to be used in their games of trying to trap Jesus, he sees a vulnerable, humiliated human being. Where others see only a disgraced law breaker, Jesus sees a person worthy of redemption. And where others use her and abuse her, Jesus reaches out TO her with love and that love reveal grace.
Jesus says to her “go and leave your life of sin” because he is offering her hope - hope of a better life and a different way to live. In these moments, Jesus isn’t just the light of THE world, he is the light of HER world. And that light reveals hope for her.
Sometimes we will find ourselves in darkness and we all find ourselves in the darkness of sin. The law of God reveals our guilt. But the love of Jesus reveals grace and the light of Jesus reveals hope.
In the same way that Jesus reaches out to that woman he reaches out to us and as he does so he isn’t just the light of THE world, he is the light of OUR world.
Questions to reflect on (on your own or in your small group):
What one idea from the message really stood out to you? Why did this idea grab your attention?
What does God’s grace mean to you and how has it illuminated your life?
Describe a time when Jesus helped you endure a hopeless situation. How did He reveal hope to you?
What guilt might God’s law be revealing to you? What’s your next step to dealing with your guilt?
What darkness might you be in the midst of right now? How could Jesus help illuminate your darkness?
How should you treat people that sin based upon what you read in John 8:1-12?
- What’s one thing you will do this week as a result of something you learned from this message?
Daily Bible Readings
Find your hope and God’s grace in the Light of the World by reading and talking over the following Bible passages this week.
Day 1: John 8:1-12
Day 2: John 8:12-59
Day 3: Acts 26:12-18
Day 4: Micah 7:8-9
Day 5: Ephesians 5:8-13
Day 6: 1 Peter 2:9
Day 7: Isaiah 50:10