JESUS:THE LIGHT OF CHRISTMAS
Jesus Lights the Way to God
Jerry A Collins
What difference does light make in our lives?
How is Jesus the manifestation of God’s light?
Why is Jesus ministry associated with light?
One night this past week sometime before our family heard a loud crash, saw a huge flash of light and then we were immediately plunged into complete darkness. Me in my study at the computer, Ruth upstairs preparing for bed and Blythe finishing up a tv program. It was eerie and haunting for a few moments as we all came together in the kitchen grappling for some flashlights, candles and matches. Darkness can be intimidating. Even the dim light of candles and flashlights brought a measure of ease and confidence back into the room as we huddled together. We finally mustered the courage to go outside and see if we could discover the source of the loud boom and flash of light we heard and saw a few minutes earlier. So together we walked up one part of our driveway and ventured onto a neighbors drive as well but we saw nothing out of the ordinary until the next day. It was on my neighbors tennis court where a large tree had hurled itself on top of his 12 foot fence that guarded one end of the tennis court, downed power lines in the process and landed on the tennis court itself. Here was the cause of that long dark night. We had no power until the next morning but by then the dawn of the day had brot it’s own light to us.
Into God’s perfect world, sin and death and evil came and plunged the world into spiritual and moral darkness. It was the start of a terrible, long dark night. For generations, ever since the fall of man, the world lived in the complete darkness of the curse of sin. From time to time there were glimpses of light, sparks of hope that promised to penetrate this darkness. God chose Abe and made promises to him that he held onto in great faith but never saw its fulfillment. God promised OT prophets that a new day would come. He promised that although the world was living in a long dark night, one day a new era would dawn on the earth. Then for 400 years God said nothing, as the Old Testament came to an end people still waiting for this promise, anticipating the dawning of that new day! Then after generations of waiting, hope sparked again as God spoke through the priest Zechariah. He prophesied that the wait was over! The time had come. The nite was past. A new day was dawning just as it was said. The Sun was beginning to peek over the horizon and the spiritual and moral darkness that had marked the curse of sin, death, evil and suffering was being replaced with a whole new day of spiritual light! This prophecy is in Luke 1:67-79 and especially vss 76-79. Jesus birth is extraordinary. He was sent from heaven to end the dark night that had come over the world. Now noone has to live under the curse of this dark night again! We no longer have to work just to survive or live an empty and hopeless life. There is good news today! Jesus has not just brot to us candles and flashlights but the dawn of a new and lasting day that overcomes the darkness of this world and promises a new age to come where it will never be dark again! Tragically, many refuse to hear this news and live mundanely, fearfully, victims of a dark and sin-stained world. But the dawn has come just the same. Jesus lights the way to God. But how does He do this?
1. THE LIGHT BRINGS SALVATION THAT DECLARES FORGIVENESS OF SINS 1:77
John the Baptist is going to prepare
the way for God and his basic task is to give knowledge of salvation to God’s people. This is how he is going to
prepare that way by means of announcement. His message centers on the
forgiveness of sins. There is an intimate connection then between salvation and
forgiveness of sins. It is unpopular today to preach and teach about sin. We
know sin wreaks havoc in life so let’s
avoid it and focus on God’s love. Yet,
from very beginning of Jesus ministry the focus is on salvation and forgiveness
of sin. John’s baptism was one of
repentance associating it with the need to be forgiven. The Pharisees objected
prompting John to remind them they were a brood of vipers who needing to repent—yet they did not see the need to since they
viewed themselves as already in right rela with god
because of who they were. Jesus ministry emphasized same thing John’s did—repentance.
Today, we have the same message. Sin brings only darkness and Jesus came to
take that away. Rejecting this light, you remain in the darkness. When Jesus as
the light of God is received, then so is forgiveness of sins and life
everlasting. Our night is ended and a new day dawns for us now! 2. BY GOD’S MERCY JESUS
Mercy, characterizes the whole plan of God including both John’s preparation for Christ and Christ’s coming. All of it is in the context of God’s mercy. Salvation is ultimately an act of God’s mercy. It is not something earned or deserved. Actually, the light of salvation, this deliverance from the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of sin was God’s way of not giving to us what we did deserve—sin’s darkness and it’s consequences. Instead God will visit his people in Messiah, the coming light—called the ‘rising sun from on high’. The picture is one of a beacon from heaven. Jesus will come and visit and serve as God’s guiding heavenly light leading into God’s way. In this way, Jesus goes beyond John—He will not only instruct them about salvation and the forgiveness of sins—He will serve like a bright shining beacon of light that takes people out of darkness and brings them into God’s way. John proclaims this salvation but Jesus brings them into it!!! All of it by God’s mercy!
Jesus task is twofold: (1) is to
light the pathway to God. The image of light appearing in the darkness to aid
people is common in the Old Testament, whether the light is God himself or an
agent of God (burning bush, pillar of fire by nite).
Jesus shining describes his coming to humans, his teaching on their behalf, and
his ministering to them during his time here. The need for this pathway
ministry is stressed in bleak terms. It is for people who sit in darkness and
in the shadow of death. People who are locked up in
ignorance, on the edge of death. People who are
spiritually and physically oppressed like
1. There is no salvation without forgiveness of sin. There is no salvation by good works, moral behavior no salvation without Jesus.
2. We should become the most merciful people in the world. Be merciful today.
3. Let people know that there is a way to a fruitful, fulfilling and rewarding life. Jesus has provided this possibility because he has done something about our worst problem—sin. Repent & be forgiven.