Following Jesus • 14 / The Significance of Light

Read This: Luke 2:8-20

When you stop at a friend’s house and everything is dark, it means they’re not there. No lights, nobody home.

That’s how it was in Israel. Throughout the Old Testament, God’s presence was signaled by light. Whether in the temple, through the prophets, or by divine intervention, light meant God was there. But Israel lost interest in God’s presence, and after generations of idolatry and wickedness, the nation went dark.

Now, four dark centuries later, comes an explosion of light. God’s glory, radiating from an angel and terrifying the local shepherds, signals a staggering turn of events. God has returned!

That angel — and all his friends — brought outrageous news. God has come to deliver us. Not just the Jews, but all people.

By calling Him Savior, Christ, and Lord, the angel declared Jesus to be the promised One, come to deliver mankind from the penalty of sin. He also declared Him to be God. That’s how Jesus makes peace with God possible — because Jesus is God, come to make peace with us.

This is the good news announced by the angels. The lights were back on! Those first eyewitnesses immediately went and verified what they’d heard. Then they proclaimed it to all who would listen. Do you believe their testimony?

Seven Things I’ve Learned About Christmas (from Reading the Bible*)

(1) Jesus existed before He was born. The Gospel of John begins Jesus’ story before there were Wise Men, shepherds, or angels. John reveals the backstory: Jesus existed before the universe began; He is God; He created the universe (John 1:1-3).

(2) Jesus is the heir to King David’s throne. The Christmas story features two genealogies — Joseph’s and Mary’s. Matthew traces Jesus’ legal right to the throne through Joseph, and Luke reveals His royal bloodline through Mary (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38).

(3) Jesus did not have a human father. When the angel told Mary she would have a baby, she asked, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” Gabriel’s answer is the crux of the story: His Father will be the Most High God (Luke 1:26-35).

(4) The shepherds were the bottom of society. God’s Son — the Creator of the universe — is born six miles from the Holy City. Who does God tell? Shepherds. The lowliest, humblest of people. Why? Maybe because shepherds exist to care for others (Luke 2:1-20; About Shepherds).

(5) The Wise Men understood God better than the priests. They were watching for the long-awaited King. When God signaled His arrival, they came from afar with lavish gifts. The priests didn’t even bother checking it out (Matthew 2:1-12).

(6) Jesus’ name explains His reason for coming. The Jews used names to describe a person’s character or role in the community. So what did God name His Son, sent to deliver all people from the curse of sin? Jesus means God is the Savior (Luke 2:21).

(7) Jesus was born into your family. God joined your family — humanity — so He could pay the penalty for your sin. Now you can join His family by accepting Jesus’ perfect life as your own (Isaiah 53:5; Romans 6:23).

* Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2; 3:23-38; John 1:1-18; Isaiah 53:5; Romans 6:23