REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on September 7, 2016, is provided by Pastor Mark Chun who is the Lead Pastor of Radiance Christian Church in S. F. He is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS, biology), and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Light Is Brighter Than the Star of Earandil”
John 12:20-36 (ESV)
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
We often don’t look for light until it is completely dark. In the book The Fellowship of the Rings, there is a powerful scene where the Queen of the Elves gives Frodo the power of the stars. As he is entering the greatest challenge of his life, she gives him the star of Earandil, the most beloved star of her people, and says to him, “May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” JRR Tolkien, who was a devout Catholic, understood the significance of light in dark places, but more importantly, he understood the significance of the one true light when all other lights grow dim.
When Jesus refers to Himself as the “Light,” it has a narrow range of meaning. He isn’t simply saying, “I am the source of enlightenment that will guide you through life, like Buddha or a New Age guru.” He is literally saying, “I am the shekinah glory of God.” The shekinah glory is the dwelling of God’s presence in a specific location that makes it perceivable to the human senses. During the Feast of Tabernacles— which lasted eight days— each night as the people gathered, the priest would light these massive candelabras for two reasons: first, as a remembrance of how God’s glory led them through the darkness, and second, as an expression of longing that the visible presence of God would fill the temple again. Just imagine Jesus standing up in the middle of that ceremony, as the priests began to light the candelabra, and proclaiming, “I am the light of the world!” Jesus is actually saying, “I am the light that all your ceremonies are pointing to, the light that led your forefathers through the desert, the light of God’s glory come to fill this temple, and I am the light come to rescue a world in darkness!”
I think it bears repeating the quote by C.S. Lewis: “A man who was merely a man and said the things Jesus said cannot be a good moral teacher. Either this man was and is the Son of God or else a madman.” We have to understand that Jesus left very little room for misunderstanding—everyone knew exactly what He was saying. It’s just that no one knew how to react to these claims. There were some who believed, many who rejected, and then there were many more who thought they believed but weren’t quite sure. Each day, Jesus issues this challenge for us: to believe in the Light with such faith that we would be transformed into the very sons of Light.
Prayer: Lord, help me to believe that You are the very light of life. I pray that You would reveal every hidden sin that remains in darkness so that I might be changed from glory to glory. As you transform me, may I become like more and more like You and shine your light in this dark world. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Chronicles 3
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 John 1:5-10 (ESV): This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Questions to Consider
- What does it mean for God to be the light?
- What does it mean for us to “walk in the light” as opposed to “walk in darkness”?
- Why is walking in the light so important for fellowship with one another?
- Although some biblical scholars think that this is a reference to the ethical or moral purity of God, based on John’s use of the metaphor of light in the Gospel, it is better to understand this as a reference to God as the source of life. Since light is what leads to life, God is at the very center of our existence.
- If you take this analogy further, “walking in the light” means to walk in the fullness of life, while “walking in darkness” means denying the source of life, the incarnate Son of God. In his letter, John is addressing the problem of those who have walked away from the faith by rejecting Christ. Walking in darkness is a life without Christ.
- Those who deny Christ clearly have no fellowship with God, nor can they have true fellowship with other Christians. Belief in God in the general sense can never substitute for belief in God through Jesus Christ.
How have you walked in the fullness of life today? Were you able to experience God’s love today and share it with others? Has God been present in all your thoughts and deeds? Write down what it means for you to live life in all of its abundance.