Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12
Israel followed the presence of the Lord in the pillar of fire as they escaped Egypt and journeyed to the Promised Land (Ex 13:21; Neh 9:12; Ps 78:14). It’s no coincidence that Jesus announces Himself the light of the world and invites us to follow Him in much the same way towards our Promised Land of salvation found only in Him. When Jesus walks into the Festival of Tabernacles and declares “I Am The Light of the World” he’s not only invoking the Pillar of Fire but also the very way they were celebrating at that moment.
According to historical accounts “During the times of the second Temple, the Festival of Tabernacles was especially known for its marvelous illumination ceremony. Beginning on the second night of the festival and continuing for each subsequent evening, the court of the women in the Temple was set aglow by four giant candelabras, each one some 73 feet tall. The rabbinic commentary called the Mishna tells us “there was no courtyard in Jerusalem not illuminated by the light…” and “he who has not beheld this celebration has never seen joy…” (Sukkah 5.1).” A few weeks later Jesus announces during another Festival of Light, Hanukkah, that “I and my Father are one” (Jn 10:10,30). You’d better believe Jesus had their attention. Does He have ours?
- The Lord is The Light: This is good news for those of us who have a Savior Complex that needs to solve everything for everyone or we are failures. We are not the source of illumination, inspiration, or transformation. I am the wick and He is the flame. Without Him, I am smoking flax that can do nothing to help anyone.
- Follow The Flame: Just like the Israelites of old when the pillar of fire moved, they moved. It didn’t matter how recently they had set up camp and got everything in place. If the Pillar of Fire moved you packed it up because you didn’t want to be the one guy left in the dark. Because I am not the source of the light I most stay close to Him or I will not be able to lead my family, my friends, and my Church.
- Light The Night: Jesus. the Light of the World, tells His disciples in Mt. 5:14 that those who follow Him are also the light of the world. We aren’t the source, but rather the reflection of that light to a darkened world. The Apostle Paul followed the flame all the way to the highest courts in the land and stood before King Agrippa. He knew His job was to bring light to the Gentiles. (Acts 26:16-18)
Last night at our final Midweek of 2018 we lit of the entire auditorium starting with one single flame. My candle to Cyndi’s candle. Our candles to the ushers' candles. Ushers candles to the those on the front row. Within minutes everyone shared their flame with the person next to them and darkness receded and gave way to hundreds of points of light. Every year we do this I’m reminded that our light is not diminished when we share our light with others.
Lord, I pray that this Christmas we would light the night around us through our witness and reflection of Your love to those around us. You’ve got my attention Lord. As I stay close to You I learn to show You to those who don’t know You.