Saturday, June 6, 2009

"Light Of The World"

When a person thinks about light, usually the first thing that will come to mind is the sun. We have been taught that the sun is the center of the solar system and thus it is the light of the world. This ball of fire that life on earth depends upon, is so massive in size that it contains 99.85% of all the matter in the Solar System, or 332,800 times that of earth. The distance from earth to the sun is 93,000,000 miles, which would take you 71 years to travel going 150 mph. The sun creates energy by burning several hundred million tons of hydrogen per second, converting it to helium by nuclear fusion. This process causes the surface temperature to be about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and scientists have calculated that there is nothing which can stop the light emitted by this fireball from expanding outwards forever. So taking all these factors and other information into consideration you would think that the sun is the light of the world but that is not what the Scriptures tell us. In Genesis we learn that God created light on the first day, (Genesis 1:4-5) but he did not create the sun until the fourth day. (Genesis 1:16-17) Now I could argue with scientists and cosmologists over their understanding of creation and my understanding of the Bible, but that is not the subject of today's message. Today's message is about Jesus being the “Light of the World” and how His followers should be a reflection of His light for the world to see.

We know the bible says that light was created on the first day, but then we read in John's Gospel that Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness, and that light comes from God, and the light is God. (John 1:1-5) Later in John's Gospel we read that Jesus Himself declares that He is "Light of the World", and that whoever follows Him shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life. (John 8:12) He also said that as believers, we are to be the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14) Let us consider what Jesus meant when He said he was “The Light”. Well, He certainly did not mean that He was a glowing light bulb walking around like some illuminated spirit. Remember, while Jesus walked and taught among His disciples 2000 years ago, He was as John testified, a real man. (1 John 1:1-3) Now the Bible does describe heavenly beings as angels of light, as was the angel in Acts 12:7 who released Peter from prison. However, Jesus was specifically speaking of what he came to do, and when He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath in His hometown of Nazareth He tells us what that is. Reading from the book of Isaiah Jesus told the men that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him and that He was anointed to preach the good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recover the sight of the blind, release the oppressed, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:16-18)

Essentially, the life of Christ on earth was all about bringing life to mankind as described in John 1:4, "In him was life, and that life was the light of men." This means he brought hope and restoration to a world of hopelessness and broken-ness. He freed some from the prison of sickness, others from the loneliness of being an outcast or low class, and a few from the grips of death itself. The teaching of Jesus freed people from their ignorance concerning God, His kingdom, the meaning of obedience, and the way of salvation. He also freed the lost from their sins by granting forgiveness, but the most important lesson we learn from the life of Jesus is His sacrificial act of offering himself on the cross to take away the sin of the world. John the baptist declared, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John. 1:29), and Jesus says of himself, "For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many". (Mark 10:45)

Jesus came to display all the goodness of God through His caring acts toward people. He came teaching truth, and to bear the punishment for our sin. In all these ways Jesus is the light of the world, and as the light, He calls for His followers to reflect His light on the world while we still live in it. Like Moses, whose face glowed after being in the presence of God, we shine because we have the light of Jesus in our lives. (Exodus 34:29-35) His presence helps us fight the battle against darkness by bringing truth to the blind, and hope to those burdened by sin. We bring acceptance to the forgotten and unloved, joy to the sad, reason and calmness to the impatient, and to those confused about life we bring God’s word. This is the light that Jesus promised those who follow and obey Him, and this is the way the light can and should affect us. (John 8:12)

This light also attracts others indwelled with the Light of life, and together we form the church that Christ promised would stand the test of time. When Christians stand together we can shine as bright as the sun, and our light will reach as far as infinity. Those who do not understand us will be effected by the glow of our love and truth in a positive way. Kevin Roose was effected in this way when he decided to go to Lynchburg, Va., and enroll at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. Roose pretended he was an evangelical Christian while he attended summer classes so that he could blend in and get the scoop about Jerry Falwell's extreme radical Christian University. Roose would eventually include the lessons he learned about the School and the students who attend it in a book called , “The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University.”

So what was the biggest result of this young man's experience you may ask? Well after the semester was over Kevin came away with a change of mind and a change of heart towards what he used to think about Christians, and Liberty University. First he made friends with Christians to the point where they became some of his best friends. This is a direct result of the light Christ spoke of when he said, "You are the light of the world... let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven". (Matthew 5:14-15) These young Christians allowed the light of Christ to shine in the presence of Kevin. Even more significant was the change that Kevin realized in himself. He discovered that, as a person, he has a spiritual side that includes the idea that God exists and that talking to God is not only a worthwhile experience but a meaningful, powerful and beautiful one.

When Kevin had to came forth with the truth of his undercover charade, he was sure that all the friends he has made would turn on him. However he learned one more lesson about God and His children, a true Christian holds no grudge and hates no man. Now that Kevin is back at Brown University, he has gotten back to doing almost everything the way he used to. However, there is one little thing that Kevin has picked up from his semester at Liberty University that he says he will never stop doing. Kevin tries to pray to God everyday, and he has come to the realization that praying to God has changed him, and in turn he changes things around him. See, Kevin was touched by the light of Christ that was shining from the students of Liberty University, and it is my prayer that Kevin allows that light to grow within him until it becomes the center of his spiritual solar system.

I pray that those who have ears to hear will hear His voice and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.


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