A moment for reflection:
by Morag Cameron
Our youngest granddaughter has a book titled ‘Opposites’ and has been sharing her learned knowledge of this with anyone who will listen. One of her favourite pages is the 'dark and light' description.
Darkness is also an apt description of the moral decay in our society today, as well as in Israel back in Jesus’ day. In John 3:19 it states, “People loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.”
Dark and light have existed in every people group and nation throughout time – a visual metaphor of good and evil. The light metaphor has long been a part of Israel’s history. The Jews associated light with God’s presence. Not only did He create light on the first day, but He revealed Himself through light, by a burning bush, to Moses. He led the Israelites through the wilderness by light, a pillar of fire. After the completion of the temple, God’s light and glory filled the temple.
In the New Testament, we see again light representing God’s presence. During the Feast of Tabernacles, there was a grand ceremony called the “Illumination of the Temple,” which involved ritual lighting of four golden oil lamps in the Court of Women. These lamps were huge menorahs, measuring 75 feet tall. During the festival, they were lit in the Temple at night to remind the Jews of the pillar of fire that had guided their people in the wilderness. Some scholars believe the light illuminated the entire city of Jerusalem.
Looking at Jesus’ claim in John 8:12 we need to understand where Jesus was when He made it. Jesus was actually in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles and having understood this amazing display of lights during the “Illumination of the Temple,” Jesus’ statement about Himself makes a major impact.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
What an amazing truth about our God. Jesus declared that He is God in the flesh, the Messiah. Isaiah predicted this moment in the Old Testament, that the Servant of the Lord would be a light not only to Jerusalem but to the whole world.
Isaiah 49:6 “I will make you a light to the nations”
Jesus told the Jews that He is the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecy, the coming light they celebrated and prepared for in this ceremony.
If there darkness around us today deep in our heart, Jesus can come and illuminate those places, bringing His light and life to us even in our darkest moment. Jesus doesn’t ask us to clean ourself up before coming to Him. He simply wants us to come and if we choose to follow Him, we never need to walk in darkness.
Hymn Light of the world lyrics - MMC worship team - Bing video
We ask You Lord to shine anew the light of Your salvation; that Your glory would illuminate our hearts, homes, cities and nation. We acknowledge You the light of the world and that You also called us to do good deeds and give honour to our Father in heaven. Help us shine as brightly as we can and bring some light into the darkness around us.