Matters of Faith: “THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!”

By Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.​

John 8:12 NKJV

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Advent has passed and the four candles have been lit. The hope candle for the promise that has been kept; the candle of symbolizing our preparation for His arrival; the candle of joy he brings reflected by the angels; and His love has permeated the hearts and minds of all those who follow Him. Finally, His day has arrived! Let the celebration begin! It’s time to light the Christ Candle, the candle that symbolizes that Jesus Christ is the Light of the World!

This is the greatest day in all of Christianity. We celebrate with no regard of geographic boundaries, race, age, health, wealth, or social status. Christians worldwide join in celebrating the birth of Jesus. Just to be clear, most scholars agree that Jesus was not born on this day. But there is no debate or disagreement of the historical fact that He was born. The collective consensus is that December 25th is the day recognized to celebrate His birth.

The prediction of His birth is found throughout the Old Testament. Not just His birth, but the prophecies speak of His being the light, not just for the Jewish and Hebrew people, but for all people. Isaiah 9:2 states,

“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.” In 42:6, he writes, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” And, we find in 60:1-3, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”

The Apostle John said of His light, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). He also quotes Jesus when he writes in John 9:5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” And again in 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”

Matthew 4:16 confirms Isaiah’s prophecy of His illumination for all people and writes, “The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” So, today, the fifth candle is lit. It is the candle that reminds us of who He is, and that this celebration is for all mankind.

Our Jewish friends began their celebration of the Feast of Hanukkah (Dedication) last night. They lit the middle candle of their nine-branch menorah, the candle that represents “the servant,” the hope of the promised “Messiah.” Messianic Jews lights the same candle, but for them, that candle is for “the Messiah.” Christians and Messianic Jews are celebrating the birth of Christ, while Orthodox Jews are celebrating in anticipation of His coming.

The message of Jesus is grace and mercy, His purpose is reconciliation of this sinful world with a benevolent God, and His method is being the light of the world. The chorus of the classic hymn be Charles Wesley, Jesus the Light of the World, captures it best; “We’ll walk in the light, beautiful light, come where the dew drops of mercy are bright, shine all around us by day and by night, Jesus, the light of the world.”

JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD AND THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter @jlorenr, and email us at matteroffaith.mof@gmail.com.  

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