the light of GodSearching out the matters of God is a great adventure. Sometimes we find connections that expand the meaning of both passages and enlarge our faith. Other times, it is what we don’t find – initially – that leads to the treasure of truth.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “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 NKJV

Before I tell you what I didn’t find and what it means, let me point out that my discovery would not have been possible had the man that is discipling me not shown it to me. In turn, as Jesus commands, I am showing it to you. And so, what are you going to do with it?

What my friend showed me is that most translations – including word-for-word translations like KJV, NKJV and NASB – omit the direct article “the”, in many places; as many as eighty, though I suspect there are more. John 8:12 contains two of them. Can you guess where they are? Young’s literal translation will help.

Again, therefore, Jesus spake to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who is following me shall not walk in the darkness, but he shall have the light of the life.” John 8:12 YLT

That’s right; darkness and life have direct articles in the original Greek manuscripts. To understand the meaning of the first, let’s look at the definition.

Darkness (skotia): Darkness; the darkness due to want of light; metaph. used of ignorance of divine things, and its associated wickedness, and the resultant misery in hell.

In the context of our passage, Jesus is not talking about a general lack of light, but “the darkness” that is the ignorance of the divine, associated with wickedness, leading to misery in hell. He is talking about the deception of Satan found in 2Thessolonians 2:9-10.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

What we have found is that “the darkness” is not only the opposite of the light, but also that of “the life”. Looking back at John 8:12, we are encouraged to ask ourselves, “Are we following Him?” That following is a continuous and progressive action. It does not end with a decision; and it is not passive in nature.

Our following Jesus Christ is the difference between having “the life”, or walking in “the darkness” that leads to spiritual deception, destruction and death.

Don’t you just love the way a small word can add so much meaning to the mysteries of God. I pray He blesses you in your continued searching; and don’t forget to share what you find with others.

Humbly yours and forever His,