Christmas Day Ten and Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always drive safely, and legally, and drive with headlights on when safety requires it; like when it is near dark, when it is cloudy, when it is raining, snowing, foggy with sunlight or without it;  and at night in the dark.

When you are driving on our Highways: Please let your light [from your car or truck at least] be seen by others.  Even some law enforcement officials need to learn this.

The Light is Shining

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2 (KJV)

The nation having departed from the Word of the LORD, His law, and His prophets is in darkness. A darkness covers the land. A darkness of sin, of captivity, of departing from the Living God, to dead idols, to shame, to sin, and its captivity.

The verse is one of the promised Messiah who would come as Light to this nation in darkness; and its people dwelling in the “shadow of death”.

When Jesus came into Israel, born as a man; a baby in a manger; the Light truly did shine; and there was hope for the land, the people. Jesus Christ was and is the fulfillment of this prophecy of Isaiah. This verse is given in detail in Matthew 4:15-16, and following this verse Jesus says,

“Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (v. 17)

It is time for repentance, in our day. A time for turning away from sin to Christ Jesus and life in the light. When we are in darkness the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ shines brighter. It shines brighter as those who are His will stand, and be strong in the LORD, and the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10ff).

The ultimate fulfillment of this verse will be when Jesus the Messiah will come again, and set all things right, and reign as King of all kings.

The Light of the Messiah; the Christ is shining brightly in this dark world. Paul the apostle of Christ said,

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound…” Romans 5:20

Because of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Light (John 8:12; 9:5).  The Light is Shining brightly.

Light of the World

Matthew 5:13-16 concluded…

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV).

Now we turn to the action of Light. In particular the Light of Jesus Christ. Let’s think first of all what the action of light is. Light dispels darkness. It casts shadows. It shows the way in the dark. Darkness cannot overcome light. We can also see by the above verses that light can be hid. It might even be put out or grow dim, due to lack of being tended. Look at these things from a spiritual perspective.

Light and darkness cannot co-exist; they cannot be together in the same place – light always overcomes the darkness. Jesus is the Light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). In the Gospel of John it is written, “The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not” – “Comprehend” means overcome or conquered, thus the light shining. Darkness is merely the absence of light. It is basically nothing. Jesus cast out the nothingness of our lives by the shining of His light into our hearts. In our hearts before Jesus came is the absence of light – His Light. Shadows are the result of light not passing through an object which stands in its way. Is there anything in our lives which cast a solid shadow of obstinance, disobedience, which will be where those who watch us will be standing. Because of this shadow they will not see the Light. Light shows us the way in the dark.

There is an amazing thing about light. You can see light from miles and miles away, and still be in the dark. Light will do you no good until you get into its illuminating power; within its area of lighting. If you are out at night and the only light you have is a flashlight you can use that to find your way. With that flashlight there is no darkness where you walk. Every obstacle in your path, every hole before each step can be seen with that light. With the light that is far away you may; by tripping and stumbling; make your way toward it while you are in the dark. You will stumble, even fall at times, and if you keep walking toward that light – if you do not fall into a hole, over a cliff, or something else happens – you might eventually get to the luminance of that light. When you get into the graces of that light you will most likely find scratches, bruises, tears in your clothing, and your eyes will take a little time to adjust to the glow, but now you can see. If you have been walking the hills out in the country of the Ozarks that would be especially true. You will probably even find burrs, and ticks on you. When you get into this light you will see what you look like. When we get into the Light of Jesus we will see what we are, and what we look like. We will see that we need some cleaning up, and He can do that.

When we are the light of Christ we will work the same way that Jesus works. We do not cover the Light in order to be unthreatening to the people in darkness. We let that Light shine, letting them see clearly who we are, and most of all who Jesus is. We can hide the light, and it can go out or grow dim due to our being ashamed of it, or due to allowing sin to dominate our lives.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. It just seems to me that we hide that light when we put ourselves on the level of the bars, bunny mansions, and rock shows. It looks to me like we hide the Light when we have it covered with the garb and gear that is worn by the world. Let your light shine. Let the world see Jesus in you.

The Light’s Preaching, Teaching and Power

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” Matthew 4:23-25 (KJV).

THE LIGHT OF JESUS SHINES AS EVIDENCE OF HIS PREACHING, TEACHING, AND POWER. These are the credentials of the Divine King – the Son of God. In His teaching He taught as one having a superior authority (7:29). He taught by speaking words and living by them. In His preaching; He announced the kingdom of heaven. In His healing; this was certainly divine verification of the truth of who He was and is. It continued through His earthly life as verification and until the end of the apostolic era.

The greatest healing Jesus came to do was in the giving of Light to the darkness of human hearts. Someone has said, “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart”. The heart of all mankind is darkness until the light of Jesus shines in and the darkness flees, and then there is healing from sins condemnation, sicknesses and disease. The only real reason for sickness and disease and problems in the world is sin. Jesus came to pay the debt of sin. That debt is paid, and one day the King of all Kings will reign, and there will be no more sin, no more sickness, no more disease, and no more problems. Jesus is the LIGHT.

These multitudes followed Him because of the mighty deeds which He did. They would later deny Him. Some of them would even be the ones in the crowd crying, “Crucify Him; crucify Him”. Are you following Him because of what He can do, or just because of who He is? It does make a difference.

The Light of the Heart

Matthew 4:12-25 continuing…

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him” Matthew 4:18-22 (KJV).

THE LIGHT OF JESUS SHINES IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIM. Jesus, walking on the shores of Galilee sees Peter and Andrew – brothers fishing. These are “Net” fishermen. They have no idea what fish are going to come up in their net, yet they toss the net into the water each time. Sometimes they have a catch large or small, and sometimes they come up empty. The net is no respecter of persons; maybe I should say fish; and neither is the Lord of all things. The fish does not go into the net without divine guidance. It is not by mere happen stance.

Peter and Andrew are fishing, and Jesus came along, and though they evidently had never met Him before – at least as far as we know – and He says, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”, and they drop their nets, and followed Him. It was an immediate action. In the King James it says, “Straightway”, and that can mean, “directly”, “soon”, “at once”, or “immediately”. At any rate they realized something special about Jesus and they followed Him. John’s Gospel gives a bit different account, and it is complementary; there is no harm done to either story (John 1:35-42).

With Peter and Andrew following along Jesus continues along the shores of Galilee seeking the men who would follow Him. The Sea of Galilee from which they make their living. The Sea which could represent the doomed, despairing, drowning, dying, realm of men in the world. Jesus comes to two more brothers James Zebedee, and John his brother. These had been fishing with their father Zebedee, but now were mending the nets. Maybe after a few times of catching the fish they would have tears, making holes in the net, thus, becoming less effective with each casting of the net. In all forms of labor; whether fishing, farming, policing, merchandising , etc. there will always be need for repairs. It can be a time of reflection, vision building, and growth; as well as improvement of the net. In this episode of Jesus’s life He now has four disciples – Peter, Andrew, James and John. He extended the invitation, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”.

That invitation, to this very day is still given to all who will hear His message. Jesus says, “Come, follow Me”.