What does it mean for Jesus to be the light of the world? Watch the featured video, reflect on some questions, and go deeper into study on your own or with a group. If you're participating in our reading plan One Story that Leads to Jesus, this Reflections Bible Study lines up with week 37.
Once you've watched the featured video, take time to reflect on these questions.
How did the video expand or challenge your understanding of John’s Gospel?
What is one thing that stands out to you in John’s introduction of Jesus in chapter one?
John claims that Jesus is God, the creator and light of the world. How does he support this claim?
John wrote his Gospel account “so that [we] may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and that by believing, [we] may have life in his name.” John doesn’t explicitly tell this to the reader until the end of the book (John 20:31). But right at the beginning, he communicates his intentions through literary devices. John introduces Jesus as the word that spoke all life into being and as the light of the world. By repeating words and metaphors from the first pages of Genesis, John compares Jesus’ ministry to the very beginning of all creation. He then continues to weave echoes of Genesis throughout his account in order to help readers see how Jesus is the giver of new creation life.
Compare John 1:1-5 with Genesis 1:1-5. What similarities and differences do you notice? What were the first words God spoke in the beginning? Consider the metaphor John uses to compare Jesus to these first words. How is Jesus like light?
Review John 1:1-14. What repeated words do you notice? Specifically, how many times does John repeat “light” or “enlighten” in this passage? And how many times is “word” repeated?
John repeats concepts in groups of sevens many times throughout his Gospel account. Find all seven titles given to Jesus in John 1:36-51. What do these specific titles tell us about Jesus? As you reflect on John’s allusion to the creation story, why do you think John chose to highlight seven titles? What might that emphasize about who Jesus is?
Observe how John also uses repeated groups of four as he describes the miraculous signs of Jesus (review 3:03-7:44 in the video). What is one specific way that these groups of stories and signs support the claim that Jesus is the light of the world? Consider why John chose to group these signs into fours as you remember what God created on the fourth day (see Genesis 1:14-19). How might this relate?
All the controversies surrounding Jesus’ miraculous signs intensify when Jesus returns to Jerusalem. Read and compare John 1:4-5 and 1:9-12 with John 11:7-11 and 11:43-46. What does the “light of the world” specifically do to bring life to Lazarus? What does this sign cost Jesus (see John 11:53)? What is your response to the light of Jesus today?