The Light of the world became flesh and the angels made his presence known. The Light lived, died on our behalf, and rose again.
That Light is the Word — the Word made flesh — the Word that we celebrated during Christmas.
The Word creates Light and those who are in the Light must not be quiet, nor keep the Word hidden, nor keep it for ourselves. For those whom God has set apart from darkness, it is a given that they will proclaim that Light to the world.
There are promises and blessings associated with sharing the light. It depends upon how carefully we listen.
God has given a commission – a responsibility – for all people whom he has set apart to be his “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, [so] that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
What God sets apart he does leave isolated or alone. He does not commission a task for his chosen people then dismiss them with a wave of the hand as if to say, “Good luck!”
People that belong to a holy nation are set apart from darkness – they belong to God. They receive a distinction that is coupled with a responsibility. They are given a purpose and a task that is closely intertwined with a promise – that God goes with them.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
When a believer who is already set apart from God actually steps out in faith to make disciples by proclaiming the gospel, they are going with Christ’s authority. A royal signet ring has been placed on their fingers – a seal of his righteousness is on their foreheads – a purple robe of royalty is placed on their shoulders. Believers are his representatives, his ambassadors, his heralds – who are given the task to deliver a message of great importance. People’s eternal destiny are at stake.
Christ is present in his Word and believers trust that his presence goes with those who proclaim his name.
And they are blessed for it!
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more, whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them. [Luke 8:16-18]
Jesus promises that the more we have of the Word [light], the more we will receive [Luke 8:18]. The person who does not have the Word will lose what they think they have – eternal life. Sin produces the arrogant thought that somehow they can be like God and produce their own righteousness.
The responsibility for the evangelist is to proclaim a message of love, warning, and grace. Their words produce light that exposes sin and pride. For the unbeliever, they must listen carefully to the Word. It is only through the power of the Word that a lost soul can receive faith.
At the same time, believers are encouraged to be good listeners. They do that by remaining in the Word! Trust its promises and its power! A person at home will typically have a lampstand near their bed. It’s one thing to place a lamp on a stand, but what good is a lamp if it’s not plugged in?
The admonition for believers is to plug into power source that is found only in God’s Word. We place it on a stand not only for ourselves, but to share with others. We no longer hide the Word out of fear nor place it under our beds because we are too busy. By listening carefully, we discover promises that are attached with Christ’s commission for all believers. When we share the light with others, we will be blessed with more light. What does that mean? When believers step out in faith, we discover an unsurpassed joy that goes with carrying out the task God gives us to share the Light with others.
Unsurpassed joy sees what Jesus sees.
The Light exposes the darkness and sees a ripe field readied by the Lord of the harvest to be sown by the seeds of gospel.
Unsurpassed joy feels what Jesus feels.
He looks upon lost and lonely souls who are harassed and helpless by Satan’s lies and feels like a hen who longs to gather her children under her wing.
The workers have always been few and Christ knows that.
I pray that more of us can answer the call like Isaiah and reply, “Send me, send me!” May it start with me.