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
When Jesus walked on earth, the Pharisees were considered enlightened leaders—blessed with deep spiritual insight. They were experts in the Mosaic Law, which they fastidiously observed. Most people viewed them as the nation’s spiritual authorities. The Pharisees viewed themselves as spiritual icons.
Therefore, they were outraged when Jesus said He was the light of the world and those who followed Him would never walk in darkness. How could an uneducated carpenter claim such authority?
Appealing to the Law, the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid” (v. 13). But their argument revealed their blindness: Jesus’s authority superseded the Mosaic Law.
Later in the conversation, Jesus illuminated other blind spots in the Pharisees’ reasoning. They judged according “to human standards,” not God’s standards (v. 15). Unwilling to recognize Jesus’s true identity (v. 23), they were also blind to God the Father’s true nature (vv. 27-29) and their relationship to Him (vv. 42-47). They didn’t even understand what it meant to be Abraham’s descendants (vv. 39-41).
Due to their blindness, they concluded Jesus was “demon-possessed” (vv. 48, 52). At the end of conversation, the enraged Pharisees attempted to stone Jesus (v. 59). The more they dishonored Him, the more blind they became. No wonder Jesus called them “blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14).
The only cure for spiritual blindness is exposure to the Light of the World—Jesus. He alone can give us a true understanding of God, others, and ourselves.
Many people think they’re enlightened but live in spiritual darkness like the Pharisees. They depend on human standards, refuse to accept what Jesus said about Himself, and misunderstand God and His love for them.
Jesus said, “They will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” (John 3:20). Like the Pharisees, some even try to destroy the light they fear. But they cannot. Darkness may eclipse light, but it can never extinguish light (John 1:5).
Jesus calls us to reflect His light in our dark world (Matthew 5:14-15). How can you diffuse the illuminating truth of His identity and His love today?
Read John 8:1-11. How does this incident further reveal the religious leaders’ blindness? What illuminating truths does Jesus reveal about Himself, the Mosaic Law, sin, and forgiveness in these verses?
Read Matthew 15:1-20. What blindness afflicts both the Pharisees and the disciples in this passage? How does Jesus enlighten them? Do you ever suffer from this blindness?
Jesus tells the Pharisees, “If you were Abraham’s children, then you would do the things Abraham did” (John 8:39). What did Abraham do? Read Romans 4:13-25. Does your life demonstrate that you’re a spiritual child of Abraham?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of a series on the I AM names of Jesus.