… the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
— 1 John 2:8
Jesus did not say “I am one of many lights of the world;” He did not even say, “I am the light of the Jews;” or yet, “I am the light of the Gentiles;” nor did He declare “I bring unto you light.” But rather, He said without apology, “I am the light of the world.” What a tremendous and bold statement.
The occasion that brought it forth was the Feast of the Tabernacles. Jesus took every opportunity to use that which was about Him to illustrate and make clear His teaching. One of the purposes of this ceremony was to remind the Jewish people of the pillar of fire, which had gone before them throughout those desert wanderings. They had set up in the outer courtyard (the Court of Women) of the Temple two giant candelabra. Maimonides tells us that they were fifty cubits high, which is seventy-five feet. There, thousands of women carrying torches formed a procession into that court from Jerusalem and around this they enacted this pageant to remind them of the presence of God in that pillar of fire centuries before.
God’s presence is not only symbolized by light, He is the “Father of Lights,” and into our dark world comes Jesus who declares: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).