Let There Be Light
“Walk in the light!” In other words, “follow in Christ’s footsteps". Do what Christ did; he talked to people, he was kind to children, he loved all people, and he cared for all of them.
In the last couple of weeks here in Texas, most of us have experienced a blackout, or two or three. We might have been reading or watching television or just sitting around and talking when, without any warning, the electricity went off, and we found ourselves in almost total darkness.
Maybe we had a flashback to the first time we visited one of the caverns in the Hill Country and held Dad or Mom’s hand while our guide turned off every bit of lighting. And we wondered how deep we were under the ground. We tried not to think of the great mass of solid rock and earth above us. We stared wide-eyed into the void all around us and knew for a moment what absolute blindness felt like.
The Hebrew words for “moved upon” may be translated “hovered over.” Like a mother bird brooding over her chicks and keeping them safe and warm, the Almighty God of all creation lavished His love upon His newborn world. Out of the chaos and emptiness, He created valleys and mountains, oceans and rivers, trees and plants for food, all manner of animals, and a beautiful paradise or garden, into which He placed a man and a woman.
The world as we know it began with a divine command: “Let there be light.” As long as Adam and Eve obeyed the heavenly Father, they lived in that divine light. The Garden of Eden was a bright place, where the Father’s Spirit was ever-present, walking with them, and where they were taught by His angels. But then the tragedy occurred. Eve listened to the wrong advisor, and Adam became a companion in her disobedience. The couple tried to hide from God, but, as they learned, that was impossible.
In the beginning, God had a plan
Sadly, they were expelled from the Garden and sent into a dark wilderness, where fears and troubles followed them, where Adam coaxed food out of the ground by the sweat of his brow, and where Eve gave birth to children in severe labor pains. And the cycle would continue for them and their descendants until everyone died and returned to the dust.
Nevertheless, in the beginning, the LORD God had a plan. In Genesis 3, we are told that a woman would give birth to a unique child who would be the Son of God. In the fullness of time that “seed of the woman,” having grown to manhood, would be known as the “light of the world.” He would destroy the serpent-power of sin, which lingered in all the dark and dangerous corners of the earth.
The God of Israel put that plan into action when Jesus was born. In the first chapter of his Gospel, John introduced Jesus Christ in an extraordinary manner (John 1:9):
Then, in John 1:14, John says, “the Word became flesh.” In the very beginning of the world, God had hovered over the darkness of the earth and commanded, “Let there be light.” Now, once more, God hovered over another world of darkness, this time spiritual darkness, and commanded: “Let there be light.”
In response to His commanding Word, a child was conceived in the womb of Mary, a “child of light” who would grow up to walk among men and women. As John says,
Today, we live in a world which is under the shadow of death—a world which could explode at any moment. But we must not sit in the darkness of constant fear and must not let ourselves be distracted by each new event. We do not know exactly what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. It is the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of this world. In Revelation 5:7, we read, “He [that is, Jesus Christ] went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” Then the host of worshippers gathered around God’s throne and sang a new song:
The psalmists wrote:
Each day, God’s Word “is a lamp for our feet, and a light for our path.” (Psa 119:105). God has delivered us from death, and our feet from stumbling, so that we may walk before God in the light of life. (Psa 56:13).
The glory in the face of Christ was shown to some of the apostles on the Mount of the Transfiguration. But the most important glory of Christ is not to be found in a shining face. Instead, it is found in what Paul called “the gift of God’s grace.” (Eph 3:7). He wrote: “This grace was given to me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.” (v. 8).
Paul’s “riches” are not gold and silver. Peter wrote that,
I pray that out of his glorious riches, [God] may strengthen you… so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that passes knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:16-19).
All through human history, a single, continuous war has been underway. It is a war between light and darkness, between love and hate, and between hope and fear. Light, love, and hope will win—it has been promised! But they will not win without a fierce struggle. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning.” (Psa 30:5).
In hope, we turn our eyes toward the east every morning, hoping that this will be the Day when Christ comes. “For you who revere my Name,” says the LORD Almighty, “the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his rays.” (Mal 4:2).
That day will come; we know not when. But we hope it will be soon. While we wait, we are told to “occupy” until Christ comes. (Luke 19:11-13). That word “occupy” means, simply, “Be busy doing all the right things, such as preaching, teaching, encouraging, and helping those in need.” The list could go on.
During the last days when Christ was with his disciples on this earth (Acts 1), they asked him, “Is now the time for us to restore the kingdom?” Jesus answered,
A short time later, as the apostles watched, Jesus ascended to heaven. Suddenly there were two angels dressed in white standing beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here gazing up into the sky. This same Jesus will come again in the same way in which he went into heaven.” Their implication was obvious: “Don’t waste your time looking up and waiting to see what happens next. You have plenty of work to do, and the best thing you can do is get on with your job.”
In other words, as John said, “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7), that is, the light which Jesus has given us. Notice that John does not say, “Sit in the light”—he says, “Walk in the light!” In other words, “follow in Christ’s footsteps”. Do what Christ did; he talked to people, he was kind to children, he loved all people, and he cared for all of them.
When the disciples met with Jesus in the Upper Room (John 13), it was already evening. Outside, there was only darkness. But inside, there was the light of candles and the man who was the “Light of the World.” Jesus told his friends that one of them would betray him. They all were astonished and asked, “Lord, is it I?”
All the disciples stayed in the room as the Passover was celebrated. It was Christ’s special “Passover,” in which he showed himself to be the Lamb of God, destined to take away the sin of the world. During the course of that evening, all the disciples participated in the full meal—that is, all but one. After receiving the bread, Judas Iscariot made his excuses and left that room for the last time.
A room where Jesus is found is a room filled with light and fellowship, and love. Judas, the traitor, abandoned that room and that Light and went out into the terrible night of jealousy, greed, and hatred, where secret deals were made as men bought and sold the lives of others. Many years later, John, remembering that very moment, wrote curtly: “It was night.”
It seems that John never forgot the cold finality of that moment: “It… was…night!”
In a dark world where Christ is the “Light,” there is only one place to be, and that is by his side. The choice is ours, and we make that choice every day. And each Sunday, we renew our commitment to that choice by participating in the memorial feast. “Do this,” Christ said, “in remembrance of me.”
Austin Leander Ecclesia, TX