Trust in the Lord

‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5, 6).’

The senior elder of the church of which I am a member, invariably ends all of his preachings with the exhortation for us to ‘trust’ in Jesus. I don’t want to trivialise this particular trust by giving you some examples of trust to illustrate what trust means. However, I will give you one example; that is trust while driving on the roads. We go through life trusting in so many things and activities, and being on the road is something most of do, and to which we can relate.

When I drive my car I trust others to drive according to the rules of the Highway Code for England, Scotland and Wales. No one is allowed to drive a car in the UK without being under supervision while learning, and if on their own, without having passed the official tests of theory and of practice. He must be the owner of a driving licence. The driver has to be competent, being able to manage his vehicle safely.

Knowing this, when I get in my car I assume my responsibility to drive it safely and courteously, and get on with it. But, there is another aspect which I must consider, and that is the ‘unexpected’. If a driver contravenes a rule, and places me, and possibly my passengers in a perilous situation, I must respond quickly in an endeavour to escape the danger. If other road users are irresponsible, perhaps by drinking alcohol or taking drugs, thereby reducing their capacity for safe conduct, I can do nothing about them; therefore being on the road while they are on the road is a ‘risk’ I must take.

Now that’s were *’faith’ plays its part. I can’t fully trust drivers of other vehicles, but I can have faith in God to protect me. I can also ‘trust’ Him to do it (Psalm 125), which makes my faith in Him firm. Trusting is the doing, practical application of faith.

God is fully dependable. He does not lie, and what He says He will do, I know He will do it. How do I know? He has given me His trust. He has revealed Himself to me through His word, by His Spirit, His creation of the world, His sustaining of the world and through personal experience of our relationship through His Son, Jesus.

My trust then in getting home safely after driving must go beyond knowing and applying the rules of the Highway Code while expecting others to do the same. You might say, I don’t know if I shall get home safely, which is true, because none of us can foresee the future. Only God is **Sovereign in all matters, and He has determined the future. Our surrender to Him, and our full trust in Him who loves and cares for us is what matters.

Our trust in the Lord is paramount, and if we lack trust in Him we are lost (Luke 19:10)!

*Faith

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2017/12/25/faith/

**Free Will and the Sovereignty of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/20/free-will-and-the-sovereignty-of-god/

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The ‘God of All Comfort’

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).’

We all like to be comfortable. By that I mean at ease, without pain, and in good health. Comfort contributes to our happiness. It’s difficult to be happy when you are in discomfort. I know this because of certain personal health issues I’ve had over the past year, and there have been times when I have been very uncomfortable, but I praise the Lord; for my situation is improving, and this is of great comfort to me. I am comforted by my God.

In the context of the opening verses penned by Paul the Apostle, ‘comfort’ is akin to ‘consolation’ . The Corinthian Christians were suffering for their beliefs and for their obedience to Christ. Their sufferings were being added to the sufferings of other Christians for Christ’s sake; but it must be pointed out that their sufferings in no way contributed to Christ’s. His death and sufferings alone were sufficient and efficacious for making atonement for all of the redeemed.

After Jesus ascended to His Father, His Father gave the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ disciples to be their Helper, their Comforter. Here’s the text:’“And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (John 14:16-18)”’.

There can be no greater Comforter than the ‘Spirit of truth’, for He comforts us in our hope, which is eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Paul also wrote of the comfort to be had from the Scriptures: ‘For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4).’

The same comfort was spoken of by the writer of Psalm 119 when he wrote: ‘This is my comfort in my affliction. For your word has given me life (v 50).’  And, telling of God’s mercy he continued, ‘Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to your word to Your servant (v 76).’

Writing to the Philippian church, Paul exhorted them to be in accord with him, and ‘of one mind’ , being consoled in Christ and comforted through His love: ‘Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfil my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind (Philippians 2:1, 2).’

Of the same consolation in Christ he prayed: ‘Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who has loved and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work (2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17).’

Thank God that we are comforted by Him for evermore.

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Does God Discipline His People?

Disciplining with Corporal Punishment

When I was a youngster my mother spoke of the *birch. She could remember its use for punishing petty criminals, and even I can remember when it was used in the Isle of Man, back in the nineteen-seventies. It was finally banned in 1993. The purpose of birching was both to punish and to deter.

I can testify that corporal punishment was widely used in the school where I was a pupil between 1946 and 1951. I was caned twice and slippered many times! I saw the headmaster brake a cane on the hand of pupil because he struck him that hard, not once, but three times on each hand. He had bespoke canes for that purpose. Caning was banned in UK state schools in 1986, and in independent schools in 1999.

Scottish government ministers have recently been considering legislation which will ban parents from smacking their children. If the proposed bill is passed, it will become a criminal offence for them to smack their children. No longer will they have the ‘right’ to smack them for enforcing discipline.

Whether you agree or disagree with laws banning corporal punishment, among things to consider are the ethical and moral aspects.  And, is there compelling evidence that demonstrates it works? Is it effective for disciplining children?

If you are a Christian you will be guided by the teachings of the Bible, especially those found in the New Testament, and in particular what Jesus says about it. You will want to act in accordance with His will and in obedience to Him.

God’s Disciplining of His Old Testament People

God promised He would be severe when it came to disciplining His Old Testament people, i.e., His special people whom He loved (1 Kings 10:9;  Hosea 11:1). He warned them through Moses with these words, ‘And after this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins (Leviticus 26:27. 28).’ In Psalm 89:31, 32 He declared, ‘If they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will punish their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.’ 

There’s a fair amount in Proverbs about disciplining – some of it by physical chastisement. Here’s a selection:

‘My Son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights (Proverbs 3:11, 12).’

‘Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding (Proverbs 10:13).’

‘He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly (Proverbs 13:24).’

‘Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates correction will die (Proverbs 15:10).’

‘Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him (Proverbs 22:15).’

‘Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell (Proverbs 23:13, 14).’

Did Jesus Discipline His New Testament People?

We find precious little in the New Testament about Jesus disciplining His disciples and His followers, but there were issues of discipline within His church (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15). Paul the Apostle wrote epistles to the churches concerning matters of discipline (2 Corinthians 10:10, 11). He was exceptionally keen on disciplining himself, as is evident when He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:27, ‘But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.’

Having been strict with himself he could be strict with those who received his instruction. He would not accept disobedience (2 Timothy 3:2), laziness (Titus 1:12, 13), worldly lusts (Romans 13:13, 14; Galatians 5:16), and above all, the teaching of a false gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-8).

Regarding Jesus, I know of only one occasion when He came near to disciplining one of His disciples. It was when He severely rebuked Peter saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offence to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men (Matthew 16:23).”

Jesus did not use physical violence on people. Yes, He may have cracked a whip in the temple as He drove out those who sold oxen, sheep and doves, but He did not hurt or wound them (John 2:15, 16). He was very forthright when dealing with the Scribes and Pharisees. However, He never physically abused them. Instead He berated them, calling them a ‘brood of vipers!’ for their evil ways (Matthew 12:34; 23:33).

Jesus came to save a **people and to demonstrate His mercy, grace, forgiveness and steadfast love (Exodus 34:6, 7). He did not come to ‘discipline’ a people, but to have them as an inheritance (v 9; Psalm 33:12) and to give them an inheritance (Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:4), a place where there will be no need for discipline (Revelation 21:22-27).

*Birching – Isle of Man 1972

https://www.corpun.com/imjur1.htm

**The Message of the Bible [The Salvation of a People]

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/08/25/the-message-of-the-bible/

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Jesus, My Friend

The title of this short article is ‘Jesus, My Friend’. That’s a huge claim to make, but it is true, and the same can be said for all Christians, i.e., those who believe, trust, and obey Him (John 15:14).

This friendship is not extraordinary for the believer, but for those who do not know Him and are not known by Him (1 Corinthians 8:3; Galatians 4:9) the claim of friendship with Jesus sounds ridiculous; they reason Christians must be deluded or insane! At best, they credit them with believing in the supernatural. Indeed it is miraculous, because the Holy Spirit brings this relationship into being by imparting new spiritual life to those who are spiritually dead (John 3:3-7) in their trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1). Thus they are born again in the Spirit, and are given this relationship. There is no difference in this respect between Christian men and women, because all are in Christ (Colossians 3:11).

As they grow and mature in their knowledge and experience of their new relationship with Jesus they learn more about Him and His Father. They begin to appreciate more fully their adoption by the Father (Galatians 4:4-7) and what it means to be a brother [or sister] of Jesus who makes them His friends. Furthermore because they are in Christ (Ephesians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:14) He brings them into a close relationship with His ‘Abba’ Father – His ‘Daddy’ Father (Galatians 4:6).

None of this is of the making of the adoptees; it is all of Jesus, who brings it about through the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 10:12). The fact is, there is no sex in heaven. Jesus tells us that His saints will be like the angels who do not marry (Matthew 22:30). There will be a finite number [the elect] who will have an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11, 14) in the new earth (Revelation 21:1), and as they will be eternal creatures (John 5:24; 17:3) there will be no need for procreation. As they sojourn on earth, prior to dying and their souls going to be with Jesus, they have the great privilege of being His friends. He said, ‘“You are My friends (John 15:14) if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you that you should go and bear fruit ….. (John 15:14-16)”’.

Jesus said to His disciples, ‘“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do (Luke 12:4)”’. He also said, ‘“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13)”’, and not only did He say these words, but He laid down His own life for His friends.

Hymn: ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’, by Joseph M. Scriven

What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

 

Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged—

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful,

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness;

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

 

Are we weak and heavy-laden,

Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Saviour, still our refuge—

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?

Take it to the Lord in prayer!

In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,

Thou wilt find a solace there.

 

Blessed Saviour, Thou hast promised

Thou wilt all our burdens bear;

May we ever, Lord, be bringing

All to Thee in earnest prayer.

Soon in glory bright, unclouded,

There will be no need for prayer—

Rapture, praise, and endless worship

Will be our sweet portion there.

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Persecution of Christians

‘“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22).”’

Today we hear of ‘ethnic cleansing’ which is an extreme form of persecution. The people who organise and bring about these atrocities may be motivated by their religious beliefs or ideologies. They oppose others whom they hate, because they don’t subscribe to their beliefs or ideologies.

This would appear to be the case in Myanmar where the military have forced Rohingya Muslims to leave their homes and villages and flee to Bangladesh. There they endeavour to survive in vast refugee camps with little hope of returning to their homeland. Their villages have been razed to the ground by burning. Some are left with nothing, apart from terrifying memories of horrific atrocities, murders and rape. The photographic evidence and testimony of survivors is clear and indisputable. Consequently the United States has called upon the U.N. Security Council to hold the military accountable.

Since the formation of Jesus’ church (Acts 2) countless numbers of Christians have been treated with violence and hatred because of their belief in Him. [Go to link below. *]

Way back in 67 AD Nero Caesar persecuted Christians by burning them alive while encased in waxed clothing. He had them strapped to trees in his garden to illuminate it. Sadistically, he may have done it because Jesus told Christians they were the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Who knows? Others he had sewn into animal skins, then set upon by ravenous dogs who tore them apart. Yet others he had crucified.

Prior to the heinous and murderous activities of Nero, some Christians had already experienced persecution. We know this because James, the brother of Jesus, wrote an epistle to Jewish converts who had fled from Jerusalem (James 1:1, 2) to places where they set up house churches. [James was martyred by Herod (Acts 12:2) probably in 62 AD, two years before the great fire of Rome, which was reputedly started and orchestrated by Nero’s minions. Characteristically he put the blame for the fire on Christians, adding further to their persecution.]

Jesus warned His disciples that they would be hated ‘by all’ for His ‘name’s sake’ (Matthew 10:22). He told of persecutions to come (Matthew 10:16-26), but they were not to fear (vv 28, 31). They would be delivered ‘up to synagogues and prisons’ and ‘brought before kings and rulers’ for His name’s sake (Luke 21:12).

But for those who would be persecuted He had this to say, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life (Mark 10:29-30).”’

He also said, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me (John 15:20, 21).”’

*Hostility Towards Christians

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2017/12/09/hostility-towards-christians/

Further Texts

For those who would like more texts about persecution of Christians I’ve compiled a list below:

Matthew 5:10-12 ‘“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets.”’

John 5:15 ‘The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.”’

Acts 7:52 ‘Which of the prophets did your Fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.’

Acts 8:1-3 ‘Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles and devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentations over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.’

Acts 13:50 ‘But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.’

Acts 22:4 ‘I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.’

Romans 8:35 ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword?

Romans 12:14 ‘Bless those who persecute you: bless and do not curse.’

1 Corinthians 4:12 ‘And we labour working wth our own hands. Being reviled, we bless,; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.’

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 ‘We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

2 Corinthians 12:10 ‘Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’

Galatians 4:29 ‘But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.’

Galatians 5:11 ‘And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offence of the cross has ceased.’

Galatians 6:12 ‘As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these try to compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.’

2 Timothy 3:11, 12 ‘ persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Anticoh, at Iconium, at Lystra – what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.’

2 Timothy 10-12 ‘But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra – what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.’

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 ‘For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.’

2 Thessalonians 1:4 ‘so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.’

1 Peter 4:16 ‘Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.’

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Jesus said, “Follow Me.”

Users of online social media such as FaceBook or Twitter are most likely familiar with the term, ‘Follower’. They will visit particular web platforms, like what they see, and consequently register themselves as followers. They may also opt into receiving notifications so that they can be kept up-to-date with the latest postings. After that, nothing much is required of them, apart from clicking a few link buttons with the mouse. There is no commitment or obligation on their part to do anything. They can visit sites when they want; take from them what they want, and leave when they want, with no imposed fines or penalties.

Followers of Jesus

By contrast, and huge one at that, being a follower of Jesus is vastly different. Jesus requires so much more of a follower than just a liking of Him. He doesn’t ask people to follow Him, He tells them to follow Him! You might say He ‘commands’ them to follow HIm. A genuine follower of Jesus is a disciple of His, and he aspires to be like Him. He trusts Him and he is committed to diligently serving Him with perseverance, even unto death, for His name’s sake and for the gospel’s sake.

Several times Jesus told people to follow Him, and many willingly did so without delay; for example, there was no hesitation on the part of the fishermen Peter and Andrew.

Here’s the account: ‘Now Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they immediately left their nets and followed Him (Matthew 4:18, 19).’

On the other hand there was the case of a rich young man who asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to sell all he had, to give to the poor and to follow Him. He promised him that if he did he would have treasure in heaven, but the man became very sad, because he had much wealth (Matthew 19:16-22). He walked away from Jesus, apparently valuing his wealth more than his soul (cf Matthew 16:26).

Jesus makes it plain to those who aspire to follow Him that they must do it wholeheartedly, and not be distracted or look back. Here’s the text:

’And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put the hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:61, 62)”

Similarly, ’Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God (Luke 9:59)”’

The Cost of Following Jesus

Jesus was straightforward about the cost to those who follow Him:

He said, ‘“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matthew 16:24),”’ and, ‘“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it (Mark 8:35).”’

“And He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:38).”’

There is a cost, but the rewards far outweigh any trials and tribulations; Indeed, James, the brother of Jesus, says count them as joy:

‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2,-4).

Now the disciple John wrote these words of Jesus,‘“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My father will honour (John 12:26).”’

‘“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27).”

How about us? Has Jesus called us to follow Him? Have we heard His voice? If so, do we follow and serve Him? Do we serve Him joyfully?

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A Light to the Gentiles

Time and again we are reminded that context is king – Yes, indeed for understanding the Scriptures, but there is another aspect of context that is seldom appreciated; that is the context of passages and their connections in different books of the Bible. It is helpful for us to understand the relationships between these passages, some of which are set out below. They have been extracted from Genesis, Isaiah, Psalms, The Gospel of John, The Gospel of Luke and the First Epistle of John.

My subject today is, ‘A Light to the Gentiles’. There are at least three aspects I would like to consider: Who or what is the Light? What is the role of the Light? and, What is our response to the Light?

Who or What is the Light?

Unequivocally, the Scriptures declare Jesus is the Light! He is the central character of the Bible. His DNA can be found in all of its pages. He said of Himself, ‘“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world (John 9:5).”’ He also said, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12).”’

From before the beginning of the Creation Jesus was the Light (1 John 1:5). John’s Gospel 1:3-5 declares, ‘All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.’

Prior to the creation of the earth the Light had not revealed Himself. He had not created light (Genesis 1:3). All was darkness (v 2).

What is the Role of the Light?

Now, ‘“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light (John 1:6-8).’  From this we learn that the essential part of Jesus’ mission was to bring people to a belief in Him so that they would ‘have the light of life (John 8:12).’

A major role of the Light was to be, ‘………. as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house (Isaiah 42:6, 7).”’

He was also to be a Servant bringing salvation and a light to the Gentiles: “‘Is it too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel: I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6).’”

When Simeon saw the baby Jesus he described Him as, ‘A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel (Luke 2:32).’

What is Our Response to the Light?

From Matthew 4:16 we learn that, ‘The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, Light has dawned.’

Jesus went to Galilee to fulfil what the prophet Isaiah prophesied about Him (Matthew 4:14). How did the people respond? Peter, Andrew, James and John, all fishermen, immediately stopped fishing and followed Jesus (vv 18-22). Great multitudes followed Him and many were healed by Him (vv 23-25). Jesus taught the people His laws (Matthew 5, 6 and 7).

He told those who believed in Him, ‘“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14),’” and ‘“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (v 16).”’

That should be our response. He has given us His light; He has made us His light. We should live holy and exemplary lives in His light (1 John 1:7) and reveal that Light to others (Philippians 2:14, 15).

We can go forward without fear because, ‘The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid (Psalm 21:1)?’

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