WE ALL NEED SOME LIGHT

John 1:4 -5 “What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; and the darkness couldn’t put it out.” (MSG)

John 1:9 “The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light” (MSG)

I love this section of John 1. It is so full of hope for not just believers but for the whole world. Christ’s life is the contradiction of darkness. And darkness comes in so many forms touching so many lives. When we are confused we say, “I am in the dark”. When we despair we say, “These are dark times.”

What this passage is declaring is that the Messiah came to bring life into the light of every person. There is a spark of the divine in each one and with it comes the hope that we don’t have to be despondent.

When God created everything the Bible says that God saw light as good and brought it OUT of the darkness and God’s desire for all of us is to have the hope that light can bring. God shed God’s light on the darkness of the souls of the world when Christ entered in to us. With God’s work in our lives there is no way for darkness to overwhelm us. Maybe I should say that we all face dark times, even as believers, but in the midst of that darkness is the reality of the light of Christ. If we don’t FEEL it then my encouragement to all of us is to believe it, believe that God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of Light.

Look at what the Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 1:13. “God rescued us from the dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much…” (MSG)

We all have places of darkness in our lives. We can probably name them to ourselves right now. There are places of brokenness and hopelessness. Maybe times when we willingly walked into darkness. There are situations where our darkness prevents us from seeing tomorrow. But please know, and I am saying this to me as much as anyone, that Christ sees tomorrow, all of our tomorrows. His light dispels the darkness ahead. I believe that. So much in Scripture affirms that.

At the time of Christ people had run out of hope and those who sat in darkness were waiting for hope. Maybe you are or someone you love is. I know for sure that there are a lot of devastated people in the world who need a little light right now. If it’s you then receive these promises in the passages above.

And there are people who need whatever light we have received through our own understanding of Christ. They need hope. They need people to stand with them against the darkness. It may be through money, our prayers, our presence, and certainly our proclamation of the Kingdom of God.

In this New Year I am hopeful that more light will be seen, received and lived in this world that God loves so much.

A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE RESURRECTION

A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE RESURRECTION.

As we prepare for Easter let’s consider what the Resurrection of Jesus means to us today. Take these thoughts with you as you conclude the Lenten Season and prepare for Holy Week.

Jesus is vindicated through his rising from the dead. His words and deeds were proven true. Romans 1:4:  He was publicly identified as God’s Son with power through his resurrection from the dead, which was based on the Spirit of holiness. This Son is Jesus Christ our Lord. (CEB)

The earliest writers of church history, some of them even eyewitnesses were not ashamed to announce with clarity what had taken place. It’s only modern ‘sophistication’ that shies away from history because we are just too darn smart for that kind of naiveté.

Thanks to the resurrection of Jesus his death was shown credible giving every evidence that what he said was true, that to die is to live both spiritually and bodily.

All despair is reversed by the resurrection or if Christ is not raised then we of all people on this earth are the most duped and pathetic people ever. (1Cor. 15)

In the resurrection of Christ history has turned a corner. God has kept his covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15) and history heads into the final stretch being carried through by the hope and new life of the Kingdom of God, which was first announced by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry. Perhaps it’s why we cry out on Easter Sunday, He is Risen Indeed. The resurrection of Jesus is the cosmic D-day when the evil powers have been doomed and now we follow the risen Christ till the final day.

It is the resurrection of Jesus that allows Paul to write that this daily life of ours is sustained by the same power that raised Jesus. Romans 8:11: If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.

 Paul will go on to say that he wants to live his life as well as endure his sufferings through that same power (Philippians 3)

It is the resurrection of Jesus that allows him to stand before the disciples and say that ‘all power and authority in heaven and on earth’ had been given to him and thus could the disciples go out in that power to make disciples, knowing they were given that power by the resurrected Christ. (See Matthew 28)

And the as the church formed together the resurrection became such a cornerstone that Paul would write to the Romans that anyone who would confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead would be saved. (Romans 10:9) What Paul is saying is that there is every reason to place our confidence in this Jesus as the one true God/Man who can ultimately save this world and our lives.

And finally for right now. The resurrection of the body of Jesus signifies not only his victory over death but the importance of the whole human project to God.

None of this is to judge any other religion but is rather to invite us all to be caught up in the confidence of this Messiah who came to invite all to share in the hope and the thrill of life. We have reason to be realistic and optimistic, thanks be to God.

I am indebted  for some of my thinking and writing to Thomas Oden in his work, Classic Christianity.