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“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” 1 John 1:5-6
“John does not say, “Light is God.” It is, “God is light.” You cannot reverse that. If it were, “Light is God,” then, of course, those who greet the rising sun with arms outstretched and burn incense to it are truer worshipers of God than us. No, it does not say “Light is God,” but “God is light.” That means that what light is, on a physical plane, God is on every level of human experience.” – Ray Stedman
Not only is the Son, Jesus, the self-existent one; He is life itself, and that life is the light of all people. He is the divine life that imparts life. What a stark contrast this light is to a world steeped in darkness. Such a contrast, in fact, that the world in its darkness still cannot comprehend this light. Apart from the hope that springs from the light, we know that the trend of world history is nihilistic, hopeless, and destructive. Francis Bacon stated, “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” The world into which the light has shown is indeed very dark.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2
It was into a dark world that the Child Christ was born, in an act bursting with kindness, love, humility and grace. He shined the light of hope and truth from a humble birth in Bethlehem. The light was bright and clear, for Jesus was the incarnation of the Kingdom; He clothed in flesh the life and priorities of the Kingdom and its light for the world to see.
The darkness did not comprehend the light so it sought to overcome it, to extinguish it. In Bethlehem, Herod tried to kill the light. In Nazareth the locals tried to kill Him. The religionists and elitists, who saw Jesus as an upstart who was upending their well-crafted system of power and control, sought to kill Him many times. The opposition came because He clearly incarnated the light and the life of God and that exposed them for the frauds they were. At last they coerced the Romans into doing it for them. Yet, the light could not be overcome.
They succeeded in putting Jesus to death, but to their dismay the light became brighter. With His death the redemption of the captive human race was completed. The ekklesia (the “called-out ones”) was born out of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Thus, the incarnation of the life and light of God went from one person to thousands. The religionists, of course, sought to crush the movement in its infancy. Just like the infant Child Christ could not be crushed, the infant church could not be crushed. The light could not be overcome, even by persecution.
Persecution has always succeeded in spreading the light further and growing the church deeper. The world still cannot comprehend that light, and those who bear that light are the object of the same wrath. The last century saw more Christians killed for their faith than any other century. Today, the true church of Jesus Christ is growing the fastest in the countries in which it is persecuted the most. It has always been this way.
The Bible warns us of the greatest persecution still to come, and that times will continue be desperate. Darkness is on the rampage against the light. Spiritual forces of evil are always trying to wipe out the light, and those who faithfully incarnate that light will be the focus of the fury. Yet the darkness has not ever overcome the light, nor will it ever.
Our celebration of the coming of our Lord to earth to bring us into union with our God is a celebration of the light shining into the darkness. This light of God continues to shine brightly. Christmas is a celebration of the incarnation of the Kingdom of our God through Jesus our Savior and also through the ekklesia, the true church. His true followers are the only Jesus, the only light and life of God, the only expressions of the Kingdom of God this world can ever see.
“To secure one’s freedom the Christian must experience God’s light which is God’s truth.” – Watchman Nee
“… but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
May all your Christmas celebrations be bright with the light of God.
This post is an update of an older post from 2018.