“I Am the
Light of the World”
Jesus attends the Feast of Tabernacles and teaches in the temple.
A woman taken in adultery is brought to Jesus.
Jesus declares, "I am the light of the world."
A study of this lesson will help us strengthen our testimonies that Jesus
Christ is our Savior and that by following him we can gain true freedom.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 15 Handout (PDF
The Feast Of Tabernacles
Jesus' "brethren" invited him to go up to the
Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. (see
The footnote reference in verse 3 refers back to Matthew 12:46:
he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood
without, desiring to speak with him."
Talmage refers to his "brethren" as his kinsman.
Jesus advised his brethren to go on up to the feast.
"I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full
come." (John 7:8)
The scriptures says that Jesus would not walk in Jewry "because the Jews sought
to kill him." (John 7:1)
"But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto
the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret." (John 7:10)
WHY DID JESUS DELAY GOING UP TO THE FEAST?
It would give his brethren time to speak of the great works of the Lord
among the people.
It would not allow the wicked Jews time to put their conspiracy into effect, not
knowing in advance that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem..
WHAT IS THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES?
The third of the three great feasts. It was considered by the Jews the
greatest and most joyful of the feasts.
The feast commemorates the Lord's blessings to the children of Israel during
their travels in the wilderness.
It was held in the fall, six months after the Feast of the Passover. It
was a time for thanksgiving at the end of the harvest.
Bruce R. McConkie: "Coming five days after the Day of Atonement, it
was thus celebrated when the sins of the chosen people had been removed
and when their special covenant relation to Jehovah had been renewed and
restored. Above all other occasions it was one for rejoicing, bearing testimony,
and praising the Lord. In the full sense, it is the Feast of Jehovah, the
one Mosaic celebration which, as part of the restitution of all things,
shall be restored when Jehovah comes to reign personally upon the earth
for a thousand years. Even now we perform one of its chief rituals in our
solemn assemblies, the giving of the Hosanna Shout, and the worshipers
of Jehovah shall yet be privileged to exult in other of its sacred rituals."
(Promised Messiah, p426)
"Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where
is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for
some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people."
WHAT SIMILAR REACTIONS TO THE GOSPEL AND PROPHETS DO WE SEE TODAY?
We see the whole range of opinions from the praise of the world regarding
such things as emphasis on the family, the welfare program, and health
standard to being led astray by the devil or even in conspiracy with him.
WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE SUCH OPPOSITE OPINIONS ABOUT THE TRUTH?
Those that have negative feelings about the truth are often influenced
by Satan. He always strives to put the powers of the priesthood in a bad
People may feel threatened by the Church and its growing influence.
JOHN 7:14-17. Jesus appears at the temple and
begins to preach.
HOW CAN ONE KNOW THAT JESUS' TEACHINGS, OR THE TEACHINGS OF A PROPHET,
COME FROM GOD?
Do what he teaches. The key word is "DO".
As Alma taught the Zoramites (see
Alma 32), we need to try an "experiment"
on the word. During our years of schooling, most of us took science
classes and tried different experiments. The Lord is asking us to do the same.
Try the experiment and check out the results.
John K. Carmack of the Seventy: "In other words, as you try it you can
know it is true. This requires faith to try, but it yields spiritual evidence.
To the disciple who tries the experiment will come conviction, knowledge,
and light." (Ensign, Nov. 1988, p26)
Bruce R. McConkie: "In the final analysis the truth of doctrine can
only be known by revelation gained as a result of obedience." (Mormon
Brigham Young taught, "More testimonies are obtained on the feet than
on the knees." (quoted in the Improvement Era, July 1912)
WHAT DOES PRESIDENT YOUNG MEAN BY THIS STATEMENT?
HOW WAS YOUR TESTIMONY OF A GOSPEL PRINCIPLE STRENGTHENED AS YOU LIVED
By far, the most profound demonstration of this truth in my life occurred
during my mission. I grew up in Utah and attended Church my whole life.
I believed the Church to be true and was determined to serve a mission.
I served much of my mission in Oklahoma and found many of the people to
be spiritual and full of faith. Their faith challenged my belief. I wondered
how they could have such faith in their beliefs. As much or more faith
than I had in mine.
After I had been out for several months, I
read the biography of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney. I was moved
by the incredible faith of this great man. He was willing to sacrifice
anything for the sake of the gospel. I wondered why I didn't have that kind of
faith. I began to question my own testimony. I even wondered why I was
on a mission. How could I teach people the gospel when my own testimony
In the midst of these spiritual and mental
struggles I was struck with a case of the flu. This only seemed to make matters worse.
But as I lay in bed with a sick body and a sick spirit, I decided what
I needed to do was to do what I had been teaching people to do for the past
several months, to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Yes, I had
read the Book of Mormon before this time. But I had not seriously followed
through on Moroni's admonition, to "ask with a sincere heart, with real
intent, having faith in Christ".
Over the next few days, as I recovered from
my illness and resumed normal activity, I read the Book of Mormon from
cover to cover. And then I started reading it again. I prayed with sincerity,
intent, and hope. What happened? I came to know that the Book of Mormon
is true. I did not have a miraculous vision. I was not struck in a moment
with a great conviction. Bit by bit, over the next few weeks, I received
an undeniable witness by "the power of the Holy Ghost" that the
book is true.
This witness was carried so deep into my heart,
that some years later when I took a "vacation" from church activity, it
was this testimony of the Book of Mormon that shook me from my complacency
and moved me back to gospel activity. I kept my missionary edition of the
Book of Mormon on top of a cabinet in my bedroom. Whenever I would relax
in bed, I would see my Book of Mormon sitting on the cabinet. And when
I thought of the Book of Mormon, that powerful witness received during
my mission experience reverberated in my heart. In a sense, it called
to me saying, "You know that I am a true. How can you deny the faith by
refusing to attend church?" Eventually I returned to church activity. It
was my testimony of the Book of Mormon that brought me back.
What the Lord says is true, if we want to
know the validity of his doctrines, we need to do what he has asked. When
we do so, we will receive a powerful witness, as I did when I followed the
admonition of Moroni in regards to the Book of Mormon.
The reverse of this principle is also true. If we do not live the principles
of the gospel, our testimonies will weaken.
Neal A. Maxwell: "There is today more ecumenicism, but there is also
more shared doubt. More and more people believe less and less—but they
do believe it together. The fewer the issues, the easier it is to get agreements.
The fewer standards there are, the less there is for congregations to rebel
against. Since knowing is tied to doing, and doing to knowing, there is
an awful cycle in all of this. Jesus said we can know of the divinity of
his doctrines by keeping his commandments and by doing the will of the
Father. Therefore, a slackening of behavioral standards brings more doubt.
(John 7:16-17.) Such doubters will not want to be reminded of the strong,
true doctrines pertaining to human behavior. Standards will grow even more
slack, and true teachings will dwindle even further." (Things As They
Really Are, p48-49)
The Woman Taken In Adultery
WHY DID THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES BRING THE ADULTEROUS WOMAN TO JESUS?
They were attempting to create a dilemma for the Master.
The Law of Moses required stoning to be the punishment for this act.
The Law of Rome held the power of punishment by death and certainly Rome
would not issue a decree of death for the act of adultery.
The Jews thought they had the perfect opportunity, to get him on the wrong
side of the Law of Moses or the Law of Rome.
WHY DIDN'T THEY STONE HER?
Bruce R. McConkie: "No man is without sin in the sense of having completely
avoided the commission of evil acts. (1 John 1:5-10.) All men are sinners
to some degree. Yet these very sinners, who themselves stood as the witnesses
against convicted adulterers in ancient Israel, were obligated to cast
the first stone when the death penalty was imposed by the judges. Jesus,
therefore, could not have meant that penalties are to be imposed only by
persons who are themselves wholly free from sin. Rather, he was here dealing
with men who themselves were guilty, either actually or in their sin-laden
hearts, of the same offense charged against the woman; that is, they were
in effect adulterers worthy of death according to the terms of the very
law they now sought to invoke against the woman." (DNTC, 1:451)
WHAT DID JESUS MEAN WHEN HE SAID, "NEITHER DO I CONDEMN THEE"?
According to Elder McConkie:
The Lord does not condone the guilty act. He condemns all guilty acts.
He does not condemn her within the meaning of the Mosaic law where her
accuser is obligated to sit in judgment and cast the first stone.
He does not condemn her because she repented and became clean before Him.
Elder Marvin J. Ashton: "Jesus did not condone adultery; there is no
doubt about His attitude toward proper moral conduct. [But] he chose to
teach with love--to show the scribes and Pharisees the need of serving
the individual for her best good and to show the destructive forces of
trickery and embarrassment." (Ensign, May 1981, p24)
WHAT VERDICT DO WE INVITE UPON OURSELVES WHEN WE JUDGE OTHERS HARSHLY FOR
THINGS WE OURSELVES HAVE DONE?
The Light Of The World
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light
of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall
have the light of life." (John
- During the Feast of Tabernacles, the temple in Jerusalem
illuminated by flames from four enormous candelabra. These flames
could be seen throughout the city.
This is another testimony of the Lord, as to who he is, according to Jewish
tradition and prophecy. His Jewish listeners knew two things:
Their Messianic prophecies spoke plainly of a Deliverer who would bring
light to Israel and to all nations.
Those fonts of Jewish wisdom, the scribes and Rabbis, taught that the Messiah
would be the Light of men.
HOW IS JESUS "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"?
"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever
is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of
Jesus Christ. And the Spirit giveth light to every man
that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through
the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit." (D&C
He brings truth into the world. The only source of truth is light, or the
spirit of Jesus.
Every man comes into the world with that light. Unfortunately, many extinguish
He is the source of all physical light in the universe and the power by
which it was made.
That same light quickens the understanding of men.
It gives life to all things.
WHAT DOES TRUTH, AND OBEDIENCE TO THE TRUTH, FREE US FROM? CONSIDER SOME
The wages of sin - bondage to sin.
Word of Wisdom.
Service to others.
HOW HAS A KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH HELPED FREE YOU?
TRUTH = LIGHT = JESUS CHRIST.
HOW CAN KNOWING THE LORD HELP MAKE US FREE?
Consider the following examples:
Alma the Younger.
Saul of Taursus.
Many believe they have received the truth. They read the Bible and say
that it is God's word and yet there are many churches and interpretations.
HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THIS?
Jesus is the light of the world, light is truth, therefore all truth emanates
Truth is not something that we decide upon after a study of the scriptures.
In all ages, God has provided spokesmen through which he will reveal his truth. It is then
our responsibility to gain a testimony of the words of this spokesman or
JOHN 8:43-47. Jesus frustrated with the Jews.
WHY WERE THE JEWS SO UPSET THAT THEY WERE READY TO STONE JESUS?
He had identified himself as Jehovah.
"And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the
children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath
sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall
I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said,
Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto
you." (Exodus 3:13-14)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
In today's world we find many attractive philosophies.
Unfortunately, a belief in Christ and a desire and willingness to follow
his teachings are often looked upon unfavorably. Christians are often accused
of trying to force their beliefs on others. In such a climate, an individual
can become confused in his or her search for truth. Jesus provided mankind
with a simple test to discover the validity of his precepts, simply try
them. By doing so, the Lord has promised that we shall learn if they are
from God. And, as the Savior later promised, when we know the truth, we
shall be made free. We will be free of false philosophies. Free of doubt
and uncertainty. As we abide by these precepts, we will be made free of
the bondage of sin. All we have to do is try this simple experiment.
Record your thoughts on the teachings of the Master in this week's lesson.
How does a knowledge of the truth make a difference in your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Bruce R. McConkie (DNTC).
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
The Promised Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie.
Things As They Really Are by Neal A. Maxwell.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
03 March 2015