Who Are You?

"I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12)

Yeshua gave witness of Himself and testified, "I am the light of the world." One would require Divine revelation for such a title to be ascribed to another, but for someone to say it about himself is indeed remarkable. While some can be a light, only one can be "the light". This is no small title.

The people of Israel were familiar with these terms of reference. They had been raised to understand that God dwells in the light and that there is no darkness in Him. The light typified holiness, truth and justice, while darkness spoke of sin, wickedness and rebellion. Israel understood that mankind walked in darkness because of sin. God, however, had placed a lamp to beam His light among the nations to draw mankind back to Himself. That lamp was Israel.

Israel was the bearer of good news. Israel beamed with salvation and hope to a lost humanity destined for judgement and eternal darkness."I will give you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be my salvation to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6)

And so the glory of Israel would be the light of the world, and He would be known as the Redeemer. They longed for Him and have expected Him to arrive for centuries. Therefore, when Yeshua said, "I am the light of the world, he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life", it was to a nation and people who were waiting for their Redeemer and Saviour of the world. And so the magnitude of such a claim should be carefully examined.

Strangely, those who heard responded by drawing attention to the fact that Yeshua was witnessing of Himself, and therefore, in their eyes His witness could not be accepted. It was odd!

It is true, in human terms, when a person gives witness of himself, it is not considered satisfactory. At least one other person must give witness in order for the claim to be validated. That person should also be unbiased.

Moreover, a person's witness is more easily accepted when the claim is set in human terms with earthly frames of reference. The testimony can then be easily understood and verified.

But what of a witness from the heavenly realm and of eternal matters? Surely the Divine perspective should be considered especially when the matter extends beyond earthly references and bears the markings of redemption.

When Yeshua gave witness of Himself claiming, "I am the light of the world", it was not from an earthly viewpoint but heavenly. These were markings of redemption, and only those whose hearts were in tune with God could affirm and respond favourably.

Unfortunately, those spiritual leaders who heard His claim were looking on the physical. Their frame of reference was limited to the tangible, and restricted to the matters of this world. As spiritual leaders they were required to look beyond the physical, to the eternal matters; they were required to listen to what the Spirit of God was saying.

Yeshua was not born of this world but from the Divine. As revealed by the messenger of the LORD: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary (Miriam) your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh). And she will bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus (Yeshua), for he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:20-21)

Yeshua reminded them that just as their law accepted the testimony of two people, then how much more should they accept the witness of two Divine personalities: "I am one who bears witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me." (John 8:18)

Again they responded in terms of this world and the human frame of reference, asking Him where His Father was. On the human level one may appreciate the dilemma of these honoured men of the community. They assumed Yeshua to be illegitimate having been born before Joseph and Mary (Miriam) had consummated their marriage. Yeshua, however, was born of the Spirit of God, and so His Father was a heavenly personality. Sadly, their spiritual perceptions were dulled to the possibilities of heavenly intervention by an earthly mindset.

Furthermore, these leaders had just been involved in an incident which pointed to their lack of sensitivity to heavenly matters. They found a woman caught in adultery. The law states that an adulterer must be put to death. They were ready to stone her to death. In fact, in their minds she was already condemned. They had brought her to test Yeshua. He confirmed the law and demonstrated that whilst they were following the letter of the law, they had missed the spirit of the law. The result being that all of them were ready to condemn her; none were ready to forgive her.

The incident showed that though these were honoured men and spiritual leaders of the community, they had judged according to the flesh, which leads to death, and they had overlooked judging according to the Spirit, which leads to life. Their assessment therefore was solely based on the temporal and the physical, which lack the benefit of a heavenly perspective. Indeed who could throw the first stone? All had sinned.

Thus Yeshua said, "You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, my judgement is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me." (John 8:15-16)

Yeshua's judgement of the woman was not earthly, nor according to the patterns of this world, but heavenly. And His judgement was true because His Father was with Him in the judgement. He had judged her according to His Father's instruction and the leading of the Spirit, who knows the heart of man, and who gives life to the poor and wretched.

If these spiritual leaders had been sensitive to God they could have accepted Yeshua's witness." You know neither me nor my Father. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also." (John 8:19) They chose not to know Yeshua from a heavenly perspective, but saw Him only from a human point of view.

To them He was the illegitimate offspring of Joseph and Mary (Miriam), therefore, the highest possible status He could achieve, in their eyes, was that of one born in sin. The criterion for their assessment was limited to flesh and blood – earthly frames of reference.

When Yeshua is considered from a heavenly perspective, however, He is indeed the Son of God.

Understandably then, these men could not recognize the Son, or the Father, because they did not look beyond the human boundaries.

Then Yeshua prophesied four things. Firstly, He would be going away, and secondly; secondly, they would seek Him; thirdly, they would die in their sin; and finally, where Yeshua was going they could not come.

The Pharisees responded, "Will he kill himself, because he says, 'Where I go you cannot come. '?" (John 8:22) It appears from this statement that the Pharisees believed that a person who took his own life would be considered an outcast or separate from the redeemed in the world to come. If this were so, then if Yeshua was to commit suicide they could not follow.

"And he said to them, 'You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. '" (John 8:23) They had been born of man, from the earth, and when they died their bodies would return to the earth. Yeshua on the other hand was born by the Spirit, He was from above. He was God in human form. When His body died He would return to the place from which He came.

His hearers were merely mortal men, born of this world, sinners requiring atonement. As descendants of the disobedient Adam who was created out of the dust of the earth, they were destined to return to the earth, and the world of darkness, if they did not receive atonement for their sins.

"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins." (John 8:24)

Something clicked! Galvanized, they appeared for just a moment, to ponder the more important eternal issues, " . . . they said to him, 'Who are you?'" (John 8:25)

For the first time in this discussion, it would seem, these spiritual leaders began to look beyond the physical. Was it possible that they could have been wrong? Would they indeed die in their sins? If He weren't the illegitimate child of Joseph and Mary (Miriam), then who was He?

And Yeshua said to them, "… (This is) what I have been saying to you from the beginning." (8:25)

He was no more, and no less, than what He had said of Himself." I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

One does not need to be a genius to work it out. But in order for someone to begin to appreciate such a claim one has to look beyond the earthly realm. He was not from this world. He was from above.

For people to consider Yeshua they must see Him for who He is and not for what they want Him to be or perceive Him to be in the earthly realm. This means taking off the earthly blinkers and allowing the Spirit of God to reveal Him. Behold, the Son of the Living God, the Prince of Life who has conquered death and the grave.

Where was He going and why could they not come?

Yeshua would be sentenced to death by crucifixion. Yes, they could follow Him there, but Yeshua would die alone on the cross for the sins of the world, and in this they could not follow.

Yeshua would take upon Himself the sins of mankind. As declared by Isaiah the prophet, "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him . . . " (52:4-5)

Whilst highly honoured and respected in the community, these men could not follow Yeshua in this respect. Like all men they were as sheep that had gone astray, and had fallen short of His glory. And like everyone they needed atonement for their sin. That atonement could only come from above.

Yeshua, who was from above, provided that atonement, through the shedding of His blood. Yeshua was innocent of any sin, yet He bore the shame of our guilt and the penalty of our sin. Thus Yeshua became God's Passover Lamb for the sins of humanity "… for if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins."