Isaiah 60:1 - Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
In the Old Testament, the word "light" is associated with the Lord. In Psalm 27:1a we read, "The Lord is my light." In Isaiah 60:19b we read, "The Lord will be your everlasting light." Job said, "By His light, I walked through darkness" (Job 29:3b). And in Micah we read, "When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me" (Micah 7:8b).
The same spirit of hope carries on in the New Testament. The Old Testament rabbis said the name of the Messiah was "light." When Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world," He was proclaiming that He was the fulfillment of that glorious prophecy (John 8:12b). Jesus made the most divine statement He could have made. And as the drama of the New Testament unfolds, Jesus, the Light of the world, is also there. For example, when prior to his conversion, Saul was traveling to Damascus, "Suddenly," the Bible says, "a light from heaven flashed around him" (Acts 9:3b). This was the presence of God. And then, Saul (who would become the apostle Paul) heard the voice of His Savior speaking graciously unto him!
The apostle John continues to build on Jesus and His message of light and hope when he writes, "This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:5-7).
In Jesus Christ, and through God's gift of faith, your light has come. When Jesus lives in you by God's gift of faith, no power of the devil can destroy you. Let the promise of God spoken through John be your daily consolation and hope. "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4b).
When God's Word comes to us and shines into the deepest recesses of our hearts, this divine light exposes all our sins and failures. We are ashamed, deeply ashamed; we can't cover ourselves with excuses and alibis. This is why Jesus and the light of His Word is so comforting. Through God's gift of repentance and faith, Jesus places His robe of perfect righteousness over us. You see, the Bible says, "For our sake He (God) made Him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). God did this so you and I can now stand pure and righteous in God's sight, never again ashamed to come into the presence of our Heavenly Father.
Each of us now can face our fears with courage. We can say with St. Paul, "I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). Arise and shine, brothers and sisters! Let your light shine among your neighbors and friends so they, too, may glorify your Father who is in heaven.
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank You for the light of Your Son Jesus Christ. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From "Arise! Shine! Your Light Has Come!" a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. What does it mean "that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all"?
2. How can we know that we are walking in the light and not in the darkness when it comes to our relationship with Jesus?
3. What are some ways we can be a "light" to others?
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