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Monday, September 14, 2015

Behold I Make All Things New -- Part 2 -- New Light and Life

New Light and Life – John 1:7

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

     This life is eternal, spiritual life given to all who love and follow Jesus. The Light is the Eternal spiritual Light of the world. All things are made eternal through the Eternal One – Jesus – who is the very image and likeness of the Father filled with the Holy Spirit.

     In the Older Testament, God told the Israelites that they were to be a light to the gentiles (world). Scripture shows us that the Israelites failed to be this many times because of disobedience to God. The Church also fails to be a full light because we have sin and the weakness of flesh also. So whether Jew or Gentile, we are inadequate in being the full light to the world. God has a remedy for this. God will send the Light of the world (Jesus) who was with God at creation to do what humanity cannot do. God’s Light and glory will take on a new form in a human body as the new True Light of the world. Jesus will radiate the Light and glory of God in a flesh body. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but have the Light of life.” Jesus is the spiritual Light of the world and the source of spiritual life. His Light along with the Holy Spirit will expose and drive away the darkness in those who follow Him bringing us to His Eternal Light and Life. Jesus “is the true Light that gives light to every man.” John 1:9 Jesus enlightens every human who comes to Him – man, woman or child. Every human on earth sees the sun and its light. God wants the Light of His Son seen by every human. The Light of the world came to open our spiritually blinded eyes so we would walk in His Light. The Light of the Word/Jesus will shine in the darkness of our souls to bring us to His Light and Life. Jesus and the Holy Spirit will strip away our masks so we are naked and honest before Him. Jesus wants us to become children of the Light, not remain in darkness.
            God had prophesied through Isaiah about the “Servant of the Lord” He would raise up who would “restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make You a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.” 49:6. Jesus not only came as the spiritual Light of the world, He was also the Savior of all. Jesus came to restore both the Jew and the Gentile back to God. Unless we open our eyes to the Light of Jesus, we cannot know the truth. God fulfilled this prophecy of Isaiah in His chosen and precious Son Jesus. Through Jesus we can know what God is like and enjoy a close, intimate relationship with Him. In the Older Testament, God had many names that revealed His character, but Jesus is the Name above all Names because He is God and encompasses all of who God is. (See Philippians 2:9)  “Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13 Jesus introduced a new name for God – “My Father.” This is a more intimate, loving name. Jesus and the Father had such a loving and intimate relationship that they were One. Jesus wants those who love and follow Him to also know God as a loving Father. Most of God’s chosen people in the Older Testament were fearful of God, but Jesus wants us to draw close to God by understanding His love for us and our love for Him through obedience to His Word. Jesus wants us to balance God’s unfailing love with reverent fear of God’s justice.
            Jesus wants us to put our trust in the Light, walk in the Light and become sons and daughter of the Light.
John the Baptist’s Light – John 1:6-9
      “There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”
      John the Baptist was not the Light. God sent John the Baptist to witness of the True Light of the world. John was a Jewish rabbi, prophet and priest under the Law. He was just a man, but he was not just any man. John the Baptist was chosen of God and filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb before he was born. God also named John before he was born and told his father Zechariah that John would be great in the sight of the Lord and would bring many people of Israel back to the Lord. John fulfilled this by pointing the people of Israel to Jesus.
     The truth of Jesus was revealed to John the Baptist in his mother’s womb by the Holy Spirit. God’s spirit leaped in John when Jesus came into the room in Mary’s womb. John the Baptist and Jesus were connected Spirit to Spirit in the wombs of their mothers. John the Baptist will carry out God’s plan for his life by the same Holy Spirit that was in him in his mother’s womb. The Older Testament represented by Zechariah, Elizabeth and John the Baptist and the New Testament represented in Jesus came together as one in John and Jesus.
            John the Baptist had a large ministry with many disciples. He taught these disciples the Older Testament scriptures. Because of this, John was a light but he was not the Light of the world—the fullness of God’s Light-- just as the Older Testament scriptures are a light, but not the full Light. Jesus said of John the Baptist in John 5:35-36, “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you might be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.”  The Older Testament scriptures that John taught and followed were given by God to point us to the True Light of the world – Jesus. Jesus' testimony is weightier than John's.  John the Baptist, a devout Jew, took no glory to himself but gave all glory to Jesus. God revealed partial truth about Jesus throughout the law and the prophets that John the Baptist represented, but now, John the Baptist is going to reveal the True and Eternal Light of the world. John knew his calling. He was to point people to Christ not himself even though at this point John was more well-known and respected than Jesus. In spite of this, John told his fellow Jewish disciples to take their eyes off of him and look to the Greater One than Him – Jesus. John the Baptist believed in Jesus whole-heartedly. He spoke boldly and courageously.
            John the Baptist obviously fulfilled his calling well because Jesus commended him by saying in Luke 7:28, “I tell you, among those born of women, there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  John was a well-known Jewish prophet, priest and rabbi, who fulfilled his calling by pointing people to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and the spiritual Light who gives spiritual life. All believers, both Jew and Gentile, would do well to follow John the Baptist’s lead and give glory to Christ alone. In humble surrender, John gave Jesus his disciples, his honor, his ministry, his heart and ultimately his life for the cause of Christ. There indeed was no one born of women greater than John the Baptist. He gave His all. Yet Jesus says that the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he because of all that Jesus did for us.
            “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.” Psalm 36:9
            “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm  119:130
            “True Light is already shining.” 1 John 2:8
            “that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:23


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