What is the light of the world, the darkness that is out there, and the light of life?
In John 8:12, Jesus is confirming to those who already know, while at the same time revealing to those who do not yet know, that He is the Light of the world. He is the hope, He is the way. He is our light, our everlasting light.
It is Jesus whom each individual (the world) must look to in order to overcome the darkness that is in this world. Ultimately, the darkness in this word comes from one place.
If you are wondering about what the darkness (our enemy) actually is, the Bible sheds some light on it in Ephesians 6:12.
Our true enemy, is not the human people who mistreat us, but is the guiding dark force which influences those people. This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. Simply put our enemy is the Devil himself and the dark spiritual realm (principalities) that he controls.(i.e. demons, satan worshipers, evil)
It is possible for someone to be walking in darkness, (under the influence of dark temptations and addictions) without knowing they are or recognizing the source.
It is easy to walk in darkness: Put your faith in something other than Jesus, weather it be yourself, money, sex, drugs, another person or religion or even to have no faith at all and your there. You may be there right now. If you know you are walking in darkness and haven't put your faith in Jesus as your Messiah then that is the first step to getting out of darkness and walking in the light of life. Read a sample Salvation Prayer.
It is faith in Him, Jesus our resurrected sacrifice, that gives a person the ability to not walk in darkness. This is possible because, among other things Jesus offers us when we put our saving faith in Him, He is the light of life.
Even for people who already know Jesus, they still have times when they are tempted by the darkness. The difference is, the Jesus followers can call upon Jesus and the gifts He gives us, for help in identifying and overcoming the darkness. Believers are tempted just like everyone else and some believers give in just like everyone else because as a human being we have free will. The key is to intentionally choose to walk or run away from the temptation, not so much using our own strength but the strength of God's righteous right hand, our Messiah.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) Jesus is the righteous right hand of the Lord. In Jeremiah 23:6 He is referred to as the LORD our righteousness.
While darkness does exist in the world, by believing in Jesus and following His teachings, a light of understanding and direction will be available to the believer. The Light of Life comes from God. As believers in Jesus, we have been gifted the Holy Spirit which dwells inside of us. It is this Spirit, that prompts us in the right direction, guides us, and is in harmony with God Himself. The light of Life then is guidelines and principals that God Himself has provided to us as a blueprint for honoring and worshiping Him. It comes from the written word in the Bible, and Jesus Himself is that Word, that light.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John1:1)
Ultimately the Light of Life is what makes your path straight:
"Your sun will no longer set, Nor will your moon wane; For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And the days of your mourning will be over (Isaiah 60:19). Isaiah, looking beyond the Millennial Kingdom, sees a view of the New Jerusalem following the Millennium (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). His prophetic perspective did not allow him to distinguish the eternal phase of the future kingdom from the temporal one, just as the Old Testament prophets could not distinguish between the first and second advent of Christ (cf. 1 Peter 1:10,11). In the eternal kingdom of the new creation, subjects will shed no more tears (Rev. 21:4). (1)
It is presently "dark" for you, but the Holy One, blessed be He, will in the future illuminate for you as an everlasting light, as it is said, "G-d shall be for you an everlasting light" (Isaiah 60:19).(2)
In the historical feast that celebrates a physical deliverance (Hanukkah), we are also reminded of how the Messiah was prophesied to bring great light into the entire world - to all Jews and Gentiles. "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them both the light shined.: (Isaiah 9:2).(3)
"...I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."(Isaiah 49:6b)
The light of salvation which Jesus the Messiah preached was sent to both Jews and Gentiles. He became the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. This great gift we accept by faith and find true and lasting forgiveness for our sins.(3)
The Lord is God, and He has given us light (Psalm 118:27).
“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light." (John 12:36)
Other pages of interest include:
1). The MacArthur Study Bible p.1026
2). Mashiach: The Principle of Mashiach and the Messianic Era in Jewish Law and Tradition by Jacob Immanuel Schochet. (Referencing Tanchuma, Nitzavim:1) p.48
3). Ed Frampton, General Director of Everlasting Nation, November - December 2010 p.5