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Light Of the World

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Light Of the World

[Immediately following prayer read scripture for the message.]
There is a song, that if I have to sing it will make me tear up no matter what mood I am in, or what I try to do to stop it. It is a song that fills me with such emotion, that I try to avoid even thinking about it because it will just crush me.
What is sad, though, is that this isn’t some ultra deep song from my youth. I never put it on a mix tape that I would give to those special ladies in my life in high school. It wasn’t one I would sing as we were slow dancing at a school dance.
It’s a simple children’s song. “You Are My Sunshine.”
It makes me cry because every time I think about it, I think of Kate and our girls. I think of her singing that to them when they were hurt, or crying, or nervous. I think of those babies who came into our hearts and lives and brought with them their own light! A light that, sure enough, was as bright as the sun to us.
They are, beyond any doubt, our sunshine.
But they aren’t the only light in our lives obviously. Even though they are probably the best physical representation of that light. There is the bigger light, the light that rules over us in everything - the light that we see reflected in our girls.
The “greater light.”
Genesis 1:16 NIV
God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
Gen 1:
You know I love to bring out Jesus in text that wouldn’t normally be used to talk about Him. And this moment in scripture is one of the most obvious. At the same time, I don’t know if I have ever heard a preacher talk about it.
You know I love to bring out Jesus in text that wouldn’t normally be used to talk about Him. And this moment in scripture is one of the most obvious. At the same time, I don’t know if I have ever heard a preacher talk about it.
Way back, here on the fourth day mentioned in scripture, we see God creating two great lights. The greater to rule the day, and the lesser to rule the night. And this is such an interesting metaphor for me. You see, humans are forever categorizing things. We look for similarities and want to group things together. It just makes things easier to understand. And this is a great example - this idea of light and darkness.
As long as there have been humans, there has been darkness. And in that darkness was danger. Just imagine the early cave dwellers who didn’t have fire. They would sit around at night, no doubt, taking watch to be sure that no animals came to take them. In the dark, everything becomes dangerous and frightening.
I am sure you can remember that feeling a a child. You can remember knowing that it only took a little light, maybe in another room, or a small night light in your room, to take away the scariness of the dark.
I imagine for early man, it was the same. I can’t even fathom what they must have felt that first moment when they realized that fire illuminated the darkness! And further, it would even keep the bad things at bay! Animals don’t come around fires, so as long as they had a fire, they were relatively safe!
And the day we found fire, church, that darkness went away.
Just like children. Just like us.
As long as there is light, the darkness is held in check.
[picture of light/dark]
But our spiritual lives demand a different kind of light, doesn’t it? It isn’t as easy as our immediate emotional need for light in the darkness. It isn’t even as easy as safety or comfort! Our spiritual lives demands an even greater light! One that can light up even the darkest recesses of our minds. One that can fight back even the shifting shadows of our own doubts and fears.
An all encompassing light. The greater light.
A light that can rise up to the mounting darkness in our hearts and minds. A light that is always strong enough, always becoming just strong enough to extinguish any darkness that we might find in our lives.
And this idea,
A balance to all the evil, and darkness in this world. The natural counterweight to the worst that this life has to offer. That is what the greater light is.
Before Christ came into our hearts, we are those children sitting in the darkness. We cry out for faith, we cry out for hope and safety!
And I can hear it almost as clearly as I can hear Kate - softly, lovingly, calmly - You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey.
Isaiah
Isaiah 9:2 NIV
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
God sings to us all that song of hope. To the people walking and living in darkness, He gives this great light! The light of hope dawns in us and for us on this very night!
As Luke puts it, the rising sun, or the sunrise that comes to us “from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
The hope for safety through the night. The warm presence that keeps dangers at arms length. The thing that brings warmth to the land, produces fruit from the soil, and illuminates all the earth so that life can occur!
The greatest light.
John 8:12 NIV
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.”
The light of the world.
You know, it isn’t ironic to me at all that the shepherds in Luke’s Gospel, and the Magi in Matthew’s are guided to Jesus by light. It just seems like the final piece of evidence we need to fully understand the symbolism. There in the darkness of that manger this tiny light was born. His mother holding Him, singing that same type of song. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
And that little light, was marked by the light in the sky; those stars that led the way to the greatest light of all.
A light that would one day grow and walk among us. A light that shined on earth for a time, and then there on Calvary, goes out.
Mark 15:33 NIV
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
And all creation, from then on, cries out in the darkness for that great light. And there, in the midst of our cries for that great light, for the one thing that can give us hope and warmth and love and wholeness, I can still hear that same song, I can hear God singing out, “You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.”
You’ll never know. Even though I gave that light to you, even though I made that light at the beginning of all time just to show you how special you are! Even though I know it is the only thing you will ever need to be able to find your way in this dark world! You will never know how special to me you are.
Every life that has ever been brought to creation hears that song. God sings it clearly through the life of Jesus to every person ever born. We are all His children. Just as we all cry out for that light, God is there, to shine in our hearts the light of Christ - the light of the knowledge and glory of the very face of God.
John 1:1–4 NIV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
You can hear that song in our text from Luke, and in the text of this message. You can hear it from the first word of scripture to the last. You can hear it in prayer, you can hear it in your life, you can hear it in all of creation!
God sings that song every day, reminding us of our importance not only to Him, but to His family!
You see, before the foundations of this earth were ever created, God saw this manger. God saw this night. God saw Good Friday. God saw the empty tomb. God saw you! And in the midst of all of that, God knew that if He would send this great light into your life, you would one day reflect that light for the whole world to see! And just like the light of these candles, when we pass that light to one another, and then on out into the world, we light up the darkness with the very light and love of Christ!
There is no need to fear darkness for those who are in the light! And as long as we hold the light of Christ in our hearts, we are His sunshine church!
Please don’t take that sunshine away. Don’t hold that light from this world. He is the light of the world, church, but we are the candles! We hold the flame that lights the fires of hope for all to see! Be that light! Be the sunshine in the lives of those you meet. Take Him with you wherever you go!
Light up this world with the light of the world.
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