Well, we did it. We turned our clocks back an hour again. It gets dark so early now. We return home for supper after work in the dark and we reach for the light switch. We have more lights on and they are on longer. You don’t wait until 7:00 to turn your lights on do you? Of course not. We don’t stumble around in the dark waiting to turn the lights on until “later”. The darker things get, the more we think about the light.
As the Jews celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in the first century, they built tent-like structures to remind themselves of how God delivered them from slavery in Egypt and how He provided for them in the wilderness for the next 40 years. This celebration also included the illuminating of the temple in Jerusalem. Each night during the feast, they would light four massive torches in the temple courts. These huge oil-fed lights would light up the temple grounds and much of the old city as well. The people would gather in the light and sing and dance through the night. They were celebrating the presence of God.
In the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt, God made His presence known to His people by a large pillar of fire. This fire reminded them that God was with them and it led the way on their journey to a place they had never been before. This is the light they were remembering together at the feast. It was during this celebration that Jesus announced “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). In this simple statement, Jesus claimed to be God. He also announced that He was the one who could bring life, and that He would lead the people out of their darkness.
Isaiah the prophet had promised long ago, “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). Matthew chapter 4 tells us that the presence and preaching of Jesus fulfilled this promise. Jesus is the great light that was to come. Zechariah the priest said that Jesus came “to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:79). This peace is peace with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus and a response of faith. Not merely peace with others (though this is good) or peace within ourselves (this is needed as well), but peace with God through the forgiveness of our sins (rebellion against God).
Jesus said that whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life…the light that gives life. Jesus also said that many will refuse the light for fear that their deeds and hearts will be exposed for what they are. Instead of humbly coming to Him for forgiveness, they will defiantly keep to the shadows. Others, willing to live in and by the truth, will come to Him on His terms and step into the light (John 3:19-21).
Do you feel like these are dark, heavy days for you? Do you need direction and peace? Are you lacking comfort and hope? Are the people and things you have depended on, the things on which you have built your life, crumbling beneath you? As we enter the darkest weeks of the year, consider the Light. Whenever you reach for a light switch, ask yourself “am I still stumbling around in the dark or will I step into the light?” If you have questions about what it means to embrace Jesus as the light of the world, call or email us at Harrow Baptist Church. We would love to share with you how you can join those whom God has called “out of darkness into His wonderful light”. The presence of Jesus will change everything in your life and will be something to celebrate every day, no matter how dark it gets outside.
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