Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Names of Jesus: A Great Light

In the midst of my political rants, it's good to get some perspective. Regardless of who wins the election, we will still be in darkness to a large extent as a nation. That is why I want to focus today on one of the names for God.
He is......A GREAT LIGHT (Isaiah 9:2)

 "There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle."  --Robert Alden
I am amazed that even in the darkest spots on earth, places like North Korea, evil dictators have not been able to stop the spread of the Good News of the Messiah Jesus. (North Korea is not just dark spiritually, but also physically immersed in darkness. I've included a satellite photo taken of both North & South Korea at night. Notice the contrast between the two nations. South Korea is lit up because of abundance of electricity. North Korea is total darkness because of very little electricity.)

North Korea has earned the distinction as the world's top persecutor of Christians. North Korean Christians aren't simply killed for their faith in Christ. They are pulverized with steamrollers, used to test biological weapons, shipped off to death camps or shot in front of children, while newborn babies have their brains pithed with forceps in front of their mothers. Crimes against humanity reminiscent of Auschwitz and Treblinka to which the world declared "Never Again!" more than 60 years ago are being perpetrated today against the North Korean Christians.

In North Korea, Christians meet secretly in small groups and read handwritten scriptures. Some use Bibles that their elders have secretly passed down to them. One man was jailed for a year because a Bible was found in his house. 

One man known as "Interviewee 14" told of his interrogation in the Onsong Gugkabowibu jail in 2001. The interrogators told the 68 persons being held in this small jail that all “followers of Jesus” were to stand up. Six did and were immediately taken away. The guards said that the six had been executed. However, the detainees later learned that the six had been taken to a gwalliso political penal labor colony at Jongsung. Interviewee 14 himself, after being deprived of food and sleep through seven long interrogations, finally gave up and confessed to belief. He was offered the opportunity to renounce his faith, pledge his loyalty to the Party, and be sent to a nodong danryeon dae labor training camp or mobile labor brigade."

We need to pray for those in North Korea, for Christians who are tortured and persecuted for their faith. But the good news is that no man, not even the leaders of North Korea can stamp out Christianity because the Spirit of God does not recognize nations' borders. The Spirit of Jesus goes wherever He wants all over the world and cannot be stopped by the feeble attempts of border guards at checkpoints. Even in the midst of the darkness in North Korea, there is the light of Jesus. He is the Great Light that is transforming lives in the darkest nation on earth.
What you need to know about this name, "A Great Light"

Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet captured the vision of the coming Messiah and gave us numerous titles. He said that the Messiah would be:
  • God's anointed servant (Isaiah 42:1)
  • The Redeemer (Isaiah 59:20)
  • Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 7:14)
  • The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) 
But he gives us an important aspect of the Messiah when he prophesies in Isaiah 9:2 that he would be a Great Light.

We are all born with a spiritual birth defect... 
Jesus told those around him that he was the Light of the world. In John 12:46, Jesus says to the crowds, 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. 
In John 9:5, Jesus said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." 
We need to consider the setting where Jesus spoke these words. Jesus and his disciples are leaving the temple area where they encounter a man who had been blind from birth. To be blind from birth meant that you lived in hopeless poverty begging for your next meal. Also, it was thought that this man was blind either because he had sinned while in the womb or because of his parents' sin. Jack Hayford writes  that "We are all born with a spiritual "birth defect'—we cannot see dearly the will and way of God for our lives. And it is only by an encounter with Jesus Christ that dear vision becomes ours." It is only in the light of Christ--His presence in our lives that we receive the knowledge of God. The Psalmist said, "In your light, we see light." (Psalm 36:9).

Right there on the spot, Jesus heals this blind man. His eyes were opened for the first time. This is similar to what happens when we are "born-again" and have our spiritual eyesight and understanding opened. We see people and the world around us differently, and we begin to see and understand God's purpose and plan for our lives. The Bible takes on a whole new meaning because it now speaks to us. The Bible is no longer a compilation of dead, dry, dusty, ancient and irrelevant thoughts of a bunch of dead men, but it is NOW living and active, addressing our every need and revealing the thoughts and wisdom of Almighty God!

It is noteworthy that light always intrudes on darkness, and darkness never intrudes on light. If a door opens between a lighted room and a dark room, the light always flows into the dark room, never visa-versa.  John 1:5, and John 8:12 tell us that we can overcome evil, darkness, with the light of Christ. 

Jesus is the Great Light who can pierce the darkness that envelopes our lives on a daily basis. He can shatter the chains of discouragement, disappointment, disgrace, defeat, and hopelessness that seeks to smother us on a daily basis. The Evil One wants to convince us that we are worthless or unworthy of any good thing that God would want to give us. He would have us consider ourselves to be like rotten fruit fallen from a tree. The Evil One would have you encrusted with a despondency devoid of any life-giving purpose.

But into that void of darkness and despair, the testimony of Jesus, our Great Light shines forth. His brilliance, his radiance, His divine love, His truth and wisdom can transform any circumstance and restore our lives to one of new purpose, direction and joy!

It is our privilege as followers of Messiah Jesus to live in this Great Light daily.

Praying in Jesus' name, a Great Light, means focusing the radi­ance of His person on the aspects of my day for which I desire divine guidance. 

We can pray that God would reveal His will to us as we read His Word (the Bible). We pray that Jesus, our Great Light, would light the path for us this day so that we would not walk in darkness. We pray that we would do what He wills for us this very day. We also recognize that Jesus as our Great Light wants to expose the darkness in our lives, those things that need to be cleaned up or the rubbish that needs to be swept from our hearts and lives. We pray for His revelation, that His Light would purify our lives and cleanse us so that we are truly walking in new found freedom and living lives that glorify Our Lord and Savior.

We can pray in Jesus' name like the African child who prayed: 

O Great Chief, light a candle within my heart that I may see what is therein, and sweep the rubbish from Your dwelling place.


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  2. OK, Kiran--whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or nothing--Jesus is still the Great Light, who shines in the midst of the darkness and lights the path, and shows us the way.

    In fact, He does more than show the way, as He himself says, He is the "Way, the Truth and the Light--No man comes to the Father except by me." (John 14:6)