Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) says,
That is me parable of the light. And now it seems to me to be of all importance to remember and assert all that to be distinctly a true parable of Christ. He says it is: “I am the Light of the world.” A thousand things that means. A thousand subtle, mystic miracles of deep and intricate relationship between Christ and humanity must be enfolded in those words; but over and behind and within all other meanings, it means this--the essential richness and possibility of humanity and its essential belonging to Divinity. Christ is unspeakably great and glorious in Himself. The glory which He had with His Father “before the world was,” of that we can only meditate and wonder; but the glory which He has had since the world was, the glory which He has had in relation to the world, is all bound up with the world’s possibilities, has all consisted in the utterance and revelation and fulfilment of capacities which were in the very nature of the world on which His Light has shone. Do you see what I mean? Christ rises on a soul. Christ rises on the world.
- Phillips Brooks’ sermon ‘The Light of the World’, John 8:12