The Light Week 1 – The Majesty of The Word Shelley Frew, author Day Four: The Light In John 1:1 – 5, we’ve discovered anew the grandeur of Jesus. We’ve seen the supremacy and excellence of Jesus as God, the scope of creation through the actions of Jesus as Creator, and today we’ll explore the theme of Jesus as the Light of the world that conquers darkness. Let There be Light Historically, until recent time, humankind managed life by the cycles of days and nights. Life before electricity entailed heavy workloads but also provided a natural break with the setting sun. After sunset the rhythm of the day changed from work to rest and people slept, rising again with the dawn the next day. Then Thomas Edison invented the first practical light bulb in 1879. As the use of bulbs began to spread, people found time to pursue more activity in a day both at home and outdoors where streetlights made traveling at night possible and much safer. Today, life offers 24 hours a day, seven days a week of available time to do what we need and desire to do. What a difference light makes. 2,000 years ago, the original Light slipped nearly unnoticed into the world as part of a rescue mission to remedy humankind’s eternal darkness. So monumental the arrival of this Light that history broke into two parts: before the Light and after the Light. The apostle John eludes to the theme of light and darkness throughout his Gospel, however in our passage for this week he also uses Light in a very specific sense in referring to Jesus Christ. Who’s Afraid of the Dark? Children aren’t the only ones unsettled by darkness. As humans, we demonstrate a natural unease with darkness. In the light, our senses interact with our surroundings and we know where we are and what’s in front of us. Once the darkness settles in, familiar objects loom ominously before us, or become invisible to our senses creating obstacles in our paths. A feeling of uncertainty replaces the calm of light, and we wonder what lurks in the darkness, or what may represent a threat to our well-being. In pitch darkness, we instinctively reach for a light, and even a candle can disperse darkness, replacing it with dim sight. Our physical experience with light and darkness prepares us to better comprehend some critical spiritual truths. God knows that we humans benefit from physical realities and experiences to enable us to better understand spiritual realities. Jesus’ teaching is full of everyday examples that his original audience would’ve clearly understood. While we’re not the agricultural society that he lived in nearly 2,000 years ago, the concept of light and darkness easily translate into our contemporary experience. We gravitate towards light and John uses this reality to his advantage when he writes his Gospel account. John’s Gospel includes a common theme for his time: that of light and darkness. Light is a central theme, not only of the fourth gospel, but also in Johns’ other New Testament writings. These two themes are to be understood morally rather than metaphysically. One purpose for the theme of light is that it “foreshadows the Gospel’s presentation of the ministry and passion of Christ [as] a cosmic battle between God and Satan.” John’s symbolism using light and darkness also shows light as goodness, truth and fellowship with God, while darkness represents separation from God, evil and falsehood. And even though light and dark are opposites, they’re unequal in strength. It’s a myth perpetuated by the world that light and darkness are equally and eternally embattled with one another in a cliffhanger contest where the winner conquers the other by a razor thin margin. The light of Jesus does more than barely win a contest with darkness: Jesus dominates. Christ’s light drives out darkness causing it to flee. With Christ’s death and resurrection, the light triumphs in our lives now because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We can live with confidence concerning his victorious light not needing to fear that darkness will overpower and absorb or destroy us. John 1:1–5 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 2The Word was with God in the beginning. 3All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it. What truths does John teach about the light? What facts do we learn about Christ in verse 4? In the meantime, the light of Christ guides us. While we have eternal life as Christ followers, our relationship with God throughout each day is impacted by whatever sin the Light makes us aware of. In 1 John, the Apostle John wrote to early Christians troubled by false teachers who either taught that Jesus was human but denied that Jesus was God, or taught he was God but denied that he was really human. We see John again writing about the theme of light and darkness as it pertains to the Christian life. Even though we’re new creatures in Christ who can choose to walk with God, we still wrestle with a fractured human nature that wants to sin and live by self-rule. On our best day, we still miss the mark of perfection, so what is John saying to his audience and to us today about sin in the Christian life? 1 John 1:5–2:2 (NET) 5Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. 7But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. 2:1(My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, 2and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world. In verse 7, “one another” refers to God and the reader. What happens when we walk in obedience to what we know is God’s truth for living life? What is John’s warning to us in verse 8? Why do we have confidence that our sins are forgiven when we confess them to God (verse 9)? Sometimes we continue to feel guilty even after we have confessed our sin, or some of us live with a vague feeling of persistent guilt even if we are routinely confessing our sins to God. How can this verse reassure us? In Jesus, we have both physical and spiritual life. Jesus speaks to Nicodemus in John 3:3 of the need each person has for new birth from above, that is, new birth by the Spirit in order to attain a relationship with God in this life and the next. We must each individually put our faith in Christ for salvation. Going to church or celebrating Christmas is not the same as trusting and following Christ. So I need to ask, have you ever taken this step? If not, why not? God wants to give you new life through the Light of the World, Jesus, and now is the time to humble yourself before him, acknowledging that you have lived independent from him and refused to live by God’s standards. Let’s pray right now, either to thank God for the light of Jesus, or to respond to his invitation to live in his light. Father, thank you for Jesus, the light of the world. Thank you that the victory is ours in Christ, and the darkness of eternal death and evil cannot consume us because of Jesus’ work of redemption on the cross, and his victory over death through the resurrection. We pray that your light would be evident in our lives so people around us trapped in darkness would turn to you and be saved… If you have never asked Jesus to come and indwell you, recreating you into a new creature that is safe in his light-filled presence, please continue in prayer: Father, I’ve never really asked to become a Christ follower and have a relationship with you. I live life by the standards that seem or feel right to me, even the good ones that are consistent with your Scripture. I humble myself now and let go of my desire to run my life my way. I want to be changed into someone who knows you personally and lives each day by your power, wisdom and guidance. Thank you for sending Christ to pay the penalty of sin on the cross so I can enter into relationship with you. Thank you for trading my life of self-rule and self-absorption for Christ’s righteousness and right relationship with you. I accept your invitation to be joined with Christ in relationship with you. Thank you that I can walk in the protection of the light as I learn and grow with you now and that I can enjoy your presence for all eternity. In Jesus name and by the power of the Spirit, amen.
Posted on: Thu, 27 Nov 2014 20:46:06 +0000
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