Let there be light.
April 3, 2018
As humans, we naturally take things for granted. And isn’t it interesting that we seem to appreciate something more only when we no longer have it. Consider the smile of a loved one who is no longer with us. After they are gone, we miss seeing their smiling face, and we yearn to see them one more time. Or when we have an injury, we appreciate our health more. At a point in my life, I had a serious back issue due to an injury. It didn’t take me long to appreciate a good night sleep that I no longer was able to experience. Because of my back injury, I was waking up every two hours in pain. I recall one night that I was emotionally desperate to have a good night of sleep; I just wanted to sleep the entire night without waking up. So one night I maneuvered my body to a position that allowed me to hang my legs off the side of the bed. This allowed me to be pain-free, and I was able to finally fall into a deep sleep. I slept for hours. It was a nice to finally rest for so long without waking up, however, that nice feeling abruptly ended in the morning. I woke up in excruciating pain in my back. Further, I realized that for me to move out of the position I was in, I was going to have to cause myself even more pain. I pleaded to my wife to get me to the emergency room and have them operate immediately because I did not want to live with the pain anymore. Yes, I survived, and my back is much better now, and yes, I am taking my health for granted again. But some of us wake up to the realization that our health is no longer going to be whole. We’ll no longer be able to run outside like we used to, or go for long walks, or have a body that is pain-free. My brother, Mike, passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease. As the disease advanced in his body, He woke up every morning realizing that he was losing more of his ability to care for himself, and it wasn’t ever going to get any better, it would only become worse. His ability to walk, eat, hold his head up, and swallow were all slowly being taken away from him. Those basic life tasks he took for granted previously, I am sure he appreciated them more as his health deteriorated.
Now hold onto the thought of appreciating something only after we no longer have it. We’re going to come back to this later on. What I want to touch on next is sharing my experience as a person who writes Christian articles. When someone writes something, their greatest motivation is knowing people enjoy reading what they have written. What pleasure is there for a painter to paint a picture and not have anyone look at it and appreciate it? The same goes for a writer. But, you see, my articles are not read by many people. I appreciate those who do read my articles, but when you get down to it, my writings won’t be found at local Christian book stores or on Twitter or Facebook being read by millions of fans. So why do I write? I had someone suggest to me that as long as I enjoy writing, that’s all that really matters. Well, truth be told, I really don’t enjoy the act of writing, or at least I could enjoy doing something else more than writing. I really don’t enjoy struggling with wondering if I have misspelled words like, “your” instead of “you’re”, or “then” instead of “than”. Or if my sentence structure is correct, or if this sentence belongs before that sentence, or that paragraph belongs up there and this one down there. Writing for me is like dropping a small rock on my big toe, and picking the rock back up and dropping it on the toe next to it, and working my way down the line. It’s a struggle for me to write, and I wish it was more natural for me, but it’s not. So what motivates me? Because I do it in service to God only.
Now think about Christ during His ministry as a teacher. In my previous article, I touched on Jesus being a teacher. So the question is: What joy did Christ receive from being a teacher? Do you think that Jesus experienced self enjoyment while He was teaching? He walked around preaching, no real home, going from place to place experiencing hostility, and living off the donations of others. Yes, He had His followers, but for the most part, Jesus was rejected. During the sermon on the mount, where a large crowd was present, He did not receive accolades from those who were present. Christ walked around teaching and people rejected Him by the multitudes. There is not one verse in the Bible where the disciples document that Jesus expressed His self-satisfaction with teaching; Jesus just taught. Now, I’m not suggesting Jesus regretted what He did for us, however, I am suggesting that Jesus did not experience the worldly reward that we tend to seek in our day-to-day lives to justify our actions. And what was Jesus’ ultimate reward for His teaching? He was crucified. Jesus clearly did not want to receive His “reward” for His ministry as a teacher. Matthew 26:39 shows us that Jesus was afraid of bearing the fruit of His teaching, “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”” Jesus did not preach for self-glorification through rewards; He simply taught. Now, what I am trying to convey is simply that Jesus’ selfless goal was to share the “Truth”. I placed the word “Truth” in capital letters because Truth is beyond the meaning of truth. Jesus taught completely unselfishly. Jesus did not teach out of self-serving joy or future reward like we might experience; He taught purely for the service and the will of the Father, our God. And that is what Truth is, it is something being told to us with pure attitude of service, to guide us, to help us, all because of the pure Love that Jesus has to offer us, and only Jesus offers Truth. And how do we know this? Because what reward would Jesus have for lying to us? None, His purpose for coming to Earth was to share the Truth.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). This is why we can believe in Jesus, our Lord and Savior, with absolute confidence.
So why was it necessary for Jesus to come to the Earth to share the Truth? Because we’ve never had it. Remember the first topic of this article was reflecting on how we appreciate something more only when we no longer have it? But what if we never had it to begin with! What if we never had our eyesight, and a doctor gave us our eyesight later in life, imagine the experience of seeing flowers for the first time! Or what if we were deaf since birth, and then we were able to hear the sound of birds singing for the first time, or the sound of a loved one’s voice. Or what if we were in prison since birth, then how would we know the joy of freedom; prison would be our world. And if we were set free, well, a glorious thing would occur. We would then know what it means to be truly free. So how would we know that we were in prison unless Jesus came to us and offered Truth to us. Without Jesus, we would be living in a world of darkness, and darkness would be our home.
Those who say we must believe in Christ or we’ll be condemned to Hell, this is not true because we are already in a place where Evil is slowly consuming us. And why do we need the Truth? It is written: “to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42:7). The word Truth is the key to our salvation from darkness. Jesus compares His Truth to light. Darkness is everywhere. Darkness is natural to our world. If there were no sun, our world would fall into darkness. And the same is with the spiritual world, where darkness and evil is everywhere and it is consuming us. In John 3:17 it is written: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jesus comes to us to save us, not condemn us. Jesus, the light of the world, comes into darkness where we exist and brings the Truth to show us the way out, just as a Shepherd leads a flock out of the wilderness to safety.
Prior to Jesus crucifixion, He was not able to help us from darkness. It was only after He was crucified, died, and that He rose again that He became the “light of the world”. When Jesus descended into Hell, and returned, this signifies to us that Jesus became the light. The light can go anywhere, including into darkness, and it conquers darkness, but when the light leaves, darkness returns. Jesus has the power to descend into the depths of Hell (darkness) and bring us out.
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, do not falter, do not drift away from the Light. Through Jesus, His light shines on us and we are protected by His light from the darkness. We must know the Truth, and know that we are in a place of darkness, we are not to be comfortable where we are, we are not to become complacent. We are to continue on our journey for the light is leading us out of the darkness.
If you do not know Christ, He stands before you with the Key to salvation. He offers it to you freely because He loves you and wants all to be saved. Allow Him to shine His Truth on you so that you will know what the Light is, and follow Him from the place of darkness to the place of life. There are others who have gone before you that are ready to joyfully sing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty” as you enter into the Kingdom of God.
And finally, I invite you to listen to the song “Let There Be Light” that is the title track from an album ‘let there be light” recorded live at Hillsong Conference in Sydney, Australia.