Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Light - A Bible Zinger.

This week's sermon at church was on light.  (Since it's Advent, the four weeks leading up until Christmas, they were going through various themes floating around about Christmas.)

I decided to write up my thoughts on the subject, because it leads to one of the big surprising things I've read in the Bible.  It's been my thought to go through some of these "zingers" for awhile, thinking that you guys might be as amazed as I've been by them.  This is a pretty decent one.  I'll be letting fly with some others later, including some real nukes!

Anyway.  Naturally, this sermon on "light" drew a lot from the book of John in the Bible.  I say, "naturally", because this is a major theme that the author decided to go with throughout.  The other Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) told the story of what they'd experienced from their own particular perspective, but John, from what he saw of Jesus, it's all about light!

For starters, in his intro he says: (John 1)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. 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.
This is like the ultra-jam-packed espresso version of who Jesus is.   There is a lot in there, and well worth chewing on, but for right now I want to point out the last line.

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it."  So true!  I don't know where you guys are, or have been, but this was ALL ME!  Sure, I thought I had a pretty good handle on who God was.  Everybody does.  But as soon as I put down my preconceptions and started to approach Him on His terms... and let the self-defining "I Am" define Himself...

Well, to say I originally, "did not comprehend it" is an understatement of scandalous proportions.

But then, here I am drawing lessons off the the thing and I haven't gotten to the zinger yet.  First, let's take another bite of chapter 1 before moving on to that, just to drive the point home:
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. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.   He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
It's strange from that perspective, isn't it?  I mean, you'd think we'd recognize the Creator of the Universe.  And more than that, you'd thing we would be clamoring to get to know Him.  But there it is all in one kidney punch.  He came to fix things.  And in response... we crucified Him.  Ouch.

That's a good segue into that verse that floored me.  In context, this is the bit where the author of John describes the night Jesus was taken away to be killed.
Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
(John 18:3)
Missed it?  Don't feel bad, I did who knows how many times before it dawned on me.

Well, compare to what the rest of the Gospel writers said. (BTW, this is a great lesson in why we need all of the Gospels, not just one.)   Everybody else describes only the weapons:  clubs and swords.  Weird in it's own right.  Was Jesus all that dangerous?  In Luke's account of the incident, Jesus says,
 Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?  When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
But the zinger is:  why did John, the gospel of light, mention torches and lanterns?

Answer:  John is calling out the irony that, these people come looking for the light, and brought along torches and lanterns to help themselves find it!

Let that sink in.

We think we need to (or even can) bring something of ourselves into the picture.  Yet just like John said in the beginning, we can't even do that because we have no clue!

I think that's a very good lesson, it being Christmas and all.

One pet peeve of mine is all these well-meaning TV specials.  "It's not about what you receive, but what you give."  Cute, but DEAD WRONG!!!

Christmas is absolutely about what we receive: the free gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ!  Trying to do any bit of that on out own is just as silly as... well... looking for The Light and bringing our own lantern. ;)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

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