I learnt something quite fascinating tonight. We were on a Zoom Session with our children and grandchildren in Naperville, just outside of Chicago. Our daughter Angela shared something with us regarding Christmas Trees. She said the “in thing” in the United States is for people to decorate their Christmas Tree and hang Christmas Lights on the tree that flashes intermittently in different ways … and then place the tree in front of a large window facing the road … keeping the curtains open at night for all walkers or drivers to see the sight … to see the “lights”. I’m sure it can be as entertaining as people putting up lights outside their houses, on trees and gutters and walls.
This made me think of lights shining at Christmas … and made me ask, what are Christmas lights all about? Most Christmas carols are about the Lord Jesus … the Bible tells us that what we call Christmas is about Jesus. One song’s lyrics go “Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness, Opened my eyes let me see. Beauty that made this heart adore you, Hope of the life spend with you”. This song gets its theme straight from the Bible:
Jn 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
It is important to understand what Jesus is saying. He is not saying that where He is you don’t need lights or street lights. He is not saying He will provide physical light to replace candles or oil lamps … or in our case, electrical lights. He is speaking about spiritual light. Spiritually, the eyes cannot see. We are blind to spiritual truth because of sin. Once Adam sinned in the Garden, he was banished from God’s paradise and the spiritual life that distinguished him from all the other animals was the “breath God breathed”:
Gen 2:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
This breath (spiritual life) was lost at the moment of sin. Effectively, this meant and still means that people are born spiritually dead. They have no spiritual life or spiritual light, and Jesus’ coming means that He and He alone is able to provide people seeking a real encounter with God … spiritual light. By His Spirit, through faith and repentance, people are able to receive the gift of “light”, enabling spiritual vision … that is, understand spiritual truth through a dynamic relationship with God through His Son Jesus, Who is the Light of the World.
Jesus then tells us that He is only the Light of the World whilst He is in the World!
Jn 9:5 “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Does this mean that now that He is in heaven since His Ascension, spiritual light is no longer available? Remember that His Rescue Mission was completed at His Ascension. What He came to do as God Incarnate was fulfilled once He paid the sin price, rose from the dead and gave final instructions to His disciples. Mission accomplished! Yet, never forget that God is Three Persons in One. Jesus told us that He and the Father are one.
John 10:30 I and the Father are one.
He also told us that He would send another Counselor … who is the Spirit.
Jn 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth.
The term “another Counselor” means “one just like me” … meaning that He would return by His Spirit, for as the Son and Father are one, so the Son and the Spirit are one. God is one … Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When Pentecost arrived in Acts 2 … so did spiritual light … providing spiritual life … and the reversal of Genesis 3’s “spiritual darkness” curse and banishment.
As the Three persons of the Trinity are at work bringing spiritual light into the world of darkness … there is another agency they use. God uses His people to bring spiritual light to shine into a dark world. We get our directive straight from Jesus … listen to what He says to us:
Mt 5:14 “You are the light of the world.”
He is the Light of the World and He authorizes His servants to be Light into this dark world. The keys He gave to Peter and the other disciples He also gives to us!
Mt 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The keys are the Gospel message. When souls surrender to Jesus’ reign through our preaching and sharing the gospel, their souls are secured for heaven … they are saved on earth (bind on earth), and that “act” results in eternal security of the soul (will be bound in heaven). But … when souls reject the gospel message, invitation and call and refuse Jesus and His offer of eternity, their souls will remain lost on earth (loose on earth) and will be lost to heaven forever (be loosed in heaven).
You see, we do not put up Christmas trees with decorations and lights to attract people to Jesus, for they are not the Light of the World. We make it our business to extend the Gospel far and wide to all we can, for the Gospel itself presents Jesus as the Light of the world to the world! Now if Jesus has mandated us to be the Light of the World, it is our duty to know the Gospel sufficiently and to take the Gospel to those we come into contact with. The reality is, we are offering them life or death–for that is what the Gospel offers. Come to Jesus and come into the true light and receive eternal life. Remain an enemy of Jesus and remain spiritually dead and in eternal spiritual darkness. It is our duty to go and take light into darkness. If we refuse or neglect this duty, we become unworthy servants of the One who suffered so that we might live.
Dear Lord Jesus, You have made each one of Your people Lights in this dark world. Help me not to spurn or neglect this high calling and this serious responsibility You have placed on me. Give me passion and give me an evangelistic spirit that is ready and willing to shine for my Lord who has done so much for me. Amen.