9That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
In the verses before this, the Gospel-writing John has been describing that other John. The camel-hair wearing, brood-of-vipers preaching, wilderness baptizing John. But that John wasn’t the light; he only pointed us to the true light, who has now come into the world that He made. But, wonder of wonders, the world He made didn’t recognize Him when He came to them.
When someone turns on the lights in your bedroom in the morning, does it take a while for your eyes to get used to the light, after being closed and in the dark all night long? So it was for Israel, when Jesus came. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). And sometimes you might roll over and demand the light be put out. Or you might even get out of bed and turn it off yourself, and then go get back in bed! This is what Israel did. They went out of their way to put out the light that came to them, so they could go back to their darkness.
But that is like trying to put out the sun. The sun is our source of heat and light, and the sun was made through the Son of God, Jesus. He is our source of light. December 21 is the shortest day of the year this year, when the sun shines the least. Our church fathers put Christmas at this time of year on purpose, partly to remind us that in our darkest hour, the Light of the world dawned. From Christmas Day on, the sun starts shining longer every day. And the Light that gives light to you shines fuller every day in your heart and life. Is He getting brighter in your life? In the tabernacle, God had a lampstand that was kept constantly burning (Exodus 25:31). In Solomon’s temple, this became 10 much bigger lampstands (1 Kings 7:49), as God’s light to the world in Israel grew. And the lampstand was fueled with oil from olive trees (Ex 27:20-21). Zechariah has a vision of a lampstand fed by olive tree branches, while God says His Word will rule by His Spirit (4:2-6). The anointed ones (Messiah, in Hebrew) stand by the lampstand, just as Jesus walks among the lampstands of the seven churches in Revelation 1. The Spirit fills Him and He is the light of the world (John 8:12). The Spirit fills us, and Jesus calls us the light of the world (Matt 5:14). Our family is also like an olive tree, Psalm 128 tells us. Mom is a vine laden with fruit. Children are like olive shoots springing up around the table. And the oil of the Spirit from Jesus fills and fuels us to shine the light of the world around us.
In the beginning, God spoke His Word and said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Now again, at the birth of Jesus, God has spoken a new creation into existence. He does this, not so that you can get presents at Christmas time. He does this so that you know His Son, through whom all things are made. He speaks so that we will glorify and enjoy Him forever. Do you know this light? Do you know Jesus?
—Pastor Steve Hemmeke, Covenant Heritage Reformed Fellowship, Newport News, Virginia
Our gracious heavenly Father, You have given us the ultimate gift. Forgive us for not honoring You, the Giver, or receiving Your Gift with joy, thanks, and faith. Thank you for giving us light and life. We rejoice before You for every good and perfect gift You give us. We believe that you have given us a Savior. We pray in His name, AMEN.
Discuss with your family what light your neighbors can see of Christ radiating from your family. How can you bring them some light and life in this season?