Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Light of the World

Most people love the sunshine. It’s so beautiful to look at and it warms the air. When the sun is shining, people are in a better mood than on a cold, dark rainy day. The sunshine brightens our world and makes all the colors so pleasant to see – the blue sky, the green grass, the red flowers and the white puffy clouds.

Many people spend a lot of time sunbathing and playing in the sun. When people go several days or weeks without sunshine, in times of bad weather, they often become rather depressed and long for sunshine once again.

Yet in the darkness, when there are no lights on, there’s not much to see. I recall when I was in the Mohave Desert during my days in the Army Infantry. During the day, the sun was shining brightly and blazing hot. But at night, there were no lights from the city or from artificial sources, since we were in lights-out, tactical combat mode. So when the moon was not visible in the sky, it was pitch-blackness. If you put your own hand in front of your face, you could not see it.

Jesus Christ is referred to in Scripture as the Sun of Righteousness. That’s a very interesting name, and it has wonderful implications for your life. I’d like to explore this name with you. Let’s take a look together and find out what this means.

Sun of Righteousness
The prophet Malachi wrote: "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, "so that it will leave them neither root nor branch." "But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. (Mal 4:1-2).

The word for sun in this passage is the Hebrew word , שׁמשׁ, “shemesh” (sheh'-mesh). It comes from an unused root meaning to be brilliant; the sun. So while the expression “Sun of Righteousness” sounds like the English expression “Son of Righteousness,” this is not the case in the original Hebrew language the Scripture was written in.

This Hebrew word shemesh is the same word used for the actual sun in our sky, which is the closest star to the earth. But the Scripture does not confuse God with the sun, and never does it teach that the sun is God or that we should worship the sun.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psa 84:11)

God Created the Sun in Our Sky
The sun is one of God’s creations. It is not God or even “a god” as the sun worshippers believe. In the beginning, when all was dark, God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Gen 1:3)

The psalmist wrote: “Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. To Him who alone does great wonders, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; To Him who made the heavens with skill, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; To Him who spread out the earth above the waters, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; To Him who made the great lights, For His lovingkindness is everlasting: The sun to rule by day, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, The moon and stars to rule by night, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” (Psa 136:3-9). Clearly we are to give thanks to the one who made the sun. We are to give our thanks and praise to Him alone.

In fact the sun itself is commanded to praise the Lord. “Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!” (Psa 148:3)

The Lord gives the sun to light up our day. “Thus says the LORD, ‘Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar? The LORD of hosts is His name.’” (Jer 31:35)

The Sun Will One Day Cease to Shine
In the age to come, we will no longer need the sun. "No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory.” (Isa 60:19)

“And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.” (Rev 22:5)

Jesus is the Light
We know that God dwells in unapproachable light. The apostle John wrote: “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1Jo 1:5) The apostle Paul also wrote, God is the One “who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” (1Ti 6:16)

Jesus proclaimed that He Himself is our Light. “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’" (Joh 8:12). He also said about Himself:

"We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. "While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world."
(Joh 9:4-5)

So Jesus said to them, “‘For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.’ These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them.” (Joh 12:35-36)

"I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. (Joh 12:46)

The apostle John wrote this about Jesus: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Joh 1:4-5). He also wrote: “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” (Joh 1:9)

The apostle Paul put it like this: “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2Co 4:6). Paul meant that the very One who created the light is the One who shone in our hearts. He is the One that gave us the Light in our hearts to know the Lord and see the glory of God in the face of Jesus.

Visible Light
The light of Jesus is sometimes manifested so that men can physically see it with their eyes. This was the case when Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him up on the mountain and He was transfigured before them.

“Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. (Mat 17:1-6)

The apostle Paul saw the light of Jesus when he was heading to Damascus to persecute Christians. “As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.” (Act 9:3). In fact, Paul said the light was brighter than the sun. “At midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me.” (Act 26:13)

You’re Either Full of Light or Darkness

More important than the light we see outside our bodies is the light that is within us. It can be completely dark outside and yet our whole body can be full of light. On the other hand, it can be as bright as the noon day sun outside and our body can be filled with darkness. Jesus said, "The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays." (Luk 11:34-36).

When we are light and our bodies are full of light, there is a certain fruit in our lives. “For the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Eph 5:9). The apostle John wrote: “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” (1Jo 2:9,10).

Walk in the Light
We need to live in the light once we have it. This lifestyle is compared to walking. Jesus taught about walking in the light rather than the darkness and compared it to how men walk in the natural light as well. "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." (Joh 11:9-10).

The apostle John put it this way: “But 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.” (1Jo 1:7). When we walk in the Light, we have fellowship and relationship with the Light and with the sons of the Light. We’re cleansed from all our sin.

And as we continue to walk in the Light, our path grows brighter each day! As the Scripture says, "The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the full day." (Pro 4:18). The Light within the righteous is ever-increasing. The personal revelation of Jesus Christ, as well as the personal knowledge of Him grows daily. This continues until there is no darkness remaining at all.

Let Your Light Shine
When Jesus lives inside of you, you are the Light of the world. That’s exactly what He said, so we need to act like it, too! "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Mat 5:14-16)

"Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. (Luk 8:16). Jesus was warning us not to hide our light or keep people from knowing that we have the light within us. We need to let it shine so they can see it.

We also need to tell others about Jesus the Light. This was the apostle Paul’s mission in life once he came to know Jesus. The Lord said that Paul’s purpose was “‘to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.'” (Act 26:18).

People Love Darkness

We know that Satan blinds many, so that they cannot see the Light right now. The apostle Paul wrote that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2Co 4:4)

People are living in darkness and actually prefer the darkness. Jesus said, "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (Joh 3:19)

"For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (Joh 3:20). This is the reason so many reject the gospel. It’s because they know their deeds are evil and they fear their deeds will be exposed.

Why not bring our evil deeds into the light and confess them and turn away from them? “But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” (Eph 5:13). Why not become accountable to others for the way we live and become transparent?

Called into His Marvelous Light
The people of God have been called to live in His marvelous light. As Peter wrote: “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1Pe 2:9). Can you hear the Lord Himself right now, calling you into the Light?

Morning Star
The apostle Peter wrote about that time when he was on the mountain with James and John when Jesus was transfigured before them. That was the time when a light shone around Jesus and his clothes became dazzling white, brighter than anyone on earth could bleach them. Peter wrote: “For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’-- and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” (2Pe 1:17-18)

You see, Peter and the other two apostles saw the Majestic Glory and heard the Heavenly Father’s voice come from the Majestic glory, which honored Jesus. That’s why Peter could say that all the prophetic words in Scripture about Jesus the Messiah are now confirmed and made more certain by what the apostles have seen and heard. He said, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2Pe 1:19). You need to pay attention to the prophetic words about Jesus written in the Holy Scriptures. You should pay attention to them like you would if you were in a dark place and paid close attention to a lamp burning near you. Peter said that if you do this, then eventually the day will dawn for you personally and the Morning Star will arise in your heart. When the day dawns, the morning star that arises is the sun.

Putting it All Together
Jesus is the Morning Star. He's the Sun of Righteousness. He's the Light of the World. When you come to know Him, you never have to walk in darkness again. And even when the sun is not shining, He lights up your world, because you are full of Light.

Those of us who know Him should walk in that Light. Goodness and righteousness and truth are the fruit that should be evident in our lives. Rather than hatred, there should be love. There should be an ever increasing aspect to the righteousness within us.

That should spill over into other people's lives around us, so that we're shining our light. We need to point people to Jesus, and that includes using words, too. Then they too can turn from darkness to light.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The "Light of the World" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.  

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also access the Main Directory for this blog, or my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

No comments:

Post a Comment