Jesus: the Light (Advent 2)
The following was written for a devotional guide for CityView Church for Advent 2009…
John 1:4-9; see also 1 John 1:5-10, 2 Corinthians 4:6
One of the most significant titles that John uses for Jesus is ‘Light’ (see John 1:4, 9; 8:12; 9:5), which carries an immense amount of meaning, both in a biblical context and for us today. In these few verses, Jesus is shown to be the ‘light of men’ (v.4), meaning that he is the true representation of life – a shining example of perfection in a world full of disobedient sinners. Not only does he serve as an example, but he also teaches and gives insight into (‘enlightens,’ v.9) how to live life on earth. In other words, John is telling us that the key to life is both to follow and to learn from Jesus. Not only that, but in 2 Corinthians 4 (specifically v.6), God tells us through Paul that he has given Christians this ability to have faith by shining the light of Christ into our hearts and letting us know the grace that we’ve been given through Jesus.
Because God has given us this shining light in Christ who brings insight, makes all things known, and reveals Truth, we know that God is light, and as Christians we should walk in the light, not in darkness (1 John 1:5-10). This means that we should confess sin, repent (turn away from sinful pursuits and turn toward God), and trust that God’s grace is fully realized in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. This also means that we shouldn’t be walking in consistent sin, enslaved to wickedness and shameful pursuits that both dishonor our God and warp our minds to the point that we think sin is awesome and God is some divine buzzkill. Jesus came to bring us an abundant life, not a repressed, bitter existence that’s merely endured.
God is the Creator of the universe, and the Bible tells us that he knows us more intimately than we know ourselves (Psalm 139). Therefore, since he is both sovereign and good, we can and should trust the way he wired the world to work and live accordingly. You see, God’s glory and our joy are not mutually exclusive. When we live in harmony with God’s design, we experience peace, true joy, God’s glory, and our greater good. God gives life; sin destroys it. God gives joy and peace; sin breeds bitterness and discord.
This joy and peace doesn’t just end with us, though. We Christians must pour our lives out in worship to God by following him faithfully and by sharing that faith with others. Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). That means that we should reflect God’s glory to a dark world and do our best to push back the darkness of sin wherever we find it. We engage sin and darkness by sharing the gospel, by serving our community in beneficial ways, and by actively praying for our leaders and non-Christians in our spheres of influence.
1. Are you walking in darkness (sin/disobedience) in any part of your life? How will you go about confessing, repenting, and walking in the light?
2. What are areas of darkness that you can begin pushing back in your own life (at work, with your wife, etc.), in your family (generational sins, etc.), and with your home group (community service opportunities, etc.).
3. What has God shown you about himself and his character in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ?
4. Do you see God’s commands as life-giving or life-draining? How do your thoughts line up with what the Bible says?