Summary: 5th of 5 messages on Jesus Controversy: Jesus is the “Light of the world”. He doesn’t say, “I can see the light” or “I know the way to the light”; He says, “I am the Light of the world.”
5/16/04 – It’s All in the Saying
John 8:12-59 Rick
The world is a very dark place… [lower lights in aud]
Light Candle #1:
Look at the newspaper... and you will read about darkness.
Go to the magazine rack in any grocery store... and you will glimpse darkness on the covers. Stop by the airport newsstand... and you will see darkness displayed in well-organized racks. Turn on the TV... and watch the darkness in comedies, reality shows, and even the cartoons. Scan the radio dial… and you can hear the darkness coming through the lyrics of musicians and the patter of the dj.
It seems to me that every time I think the world can’t get any darker – it does.
[lower lights to complete darkness except for one candle that is lit]
It’s almost enough to make you want to cross the Mackinaw Bridge, blow it up and then live by yourself in the backcountry of the upper peninsula.
But that wouldn’t help the world’s problem with darkness… The world needs light…
Light Candle #2
It was the Last Night of the Feast. For 8 days it had been a gigantic campout. The homes of the people had been abandoned for shelters made out of bushes and tree branches as a way of remembering the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness of the Sinai desert. During those years there was a great dark cloud by day that moved along their path. At night there was a there was a cloud of fire – a light to guide the way to the promised land.
Light Candle #3
At the Feast of the tabernacles one of the highlights of each evenings festivities was the lighting of 4 great candelabra’s in the temple grounds. Everyone was there on the last night for the last lighting of the great Menorah - some seventy feet high and layered in beautiful hammered gold fashioned, by the finest artisans of the nation, would be lit. Picture this small Menorah as a stunning work of art, a great lamp, with seven golden arms each reaching up to the sky. At the end of each arm a great basin filled with the purest oil. In each basing a great wick made of the worn clothing of the priests of the temple.
Light Candle #4
To the Jew it was a powerful image. It was large. It bathed the whole courtyard in warm yellow light. Josephus claimed that the light could be seen through the whole of Jerusalem it was so bright. It symbolized the light that Israel would one day take to the Gentiles in the Messianic Age in the building of a new Kingdom of might and power.
Light Candle #5
Josephus, a noted Jewish historian, gives us important insights into what happened that last night of the feast of the shelters. He records that the treasury where the offerings were given was in the women’s court of the temple. This is where the candelabra stood. The women’s court was open to all Israelites, so, unlike the court of the nation of Israel, was not restricted to men. Everyone was there! Thousands jammed in to see this lighting of this great light.
Light Candle #6
Image the noisy crowd, gathered around in the darkness waiting for the moment when the priests lift the torch to the first wick. As it comes into the courtyard from the inner courts – symbolizing God’s presence – the crowd gets quiet. Little boys sit on father’s shoulders and take in every movement. Little girls are held up to see over the heads of the people. The moment is fixed into every eye and etched into every mind.
I imagine Jesus standing beneath the candelabra, its light illuminating Him to all that were present – thousands upon thousands. There He made His proclamation just at the peak of Israel’s hushed silence as the last candle was lit and this magnificent, awe-inspiring spectacle was complete.
Light Candle #7
As the last lamp is lit – in the hushed silence of expectance – in a scene not unlike the lighting of the Olympic torch at the beginning of the games – Jesus spoke – in a loud voice and said…
I am the light of the world [Bring lights up in aud to full on]
The World Needs Light
Isaiah 5:20 (NCV)
20 How terrible it will be for people who call good things bad and bad things good, who think darkness is light and light is darkness, who think sour is sweet and sweet is sour.
Right has become wrong and wrong has become right
We look around and see that things are not as they should be.
Mark Early, ran for governor in Virginia in 2000 (and lost) spoke at a prayer breakfast this past week here in Lansing.