Summary: Jesus, shows the way through the darkness, keeps us on the true path, shows us our sin and reveals the truth.
(this sermon is based on a previous sermon of mine “Jesus, the Light of the World”. It has been adjusted and updated to suit the church in Kabul, Afghaninstan)
Leading up to the celebration of Christmas, our cities are filled with festive lights. We see the popular German tradition of Christmas trees set up in houses, stores, offices and even on churches all decorated with beautiful ornaments and adorned with all the colors of the rainbow. The lights add that extra sparkle. They grab your attention by adding bright colors to an otherwise dark tree. Similar lights may be found decorating the roofline, railings and bushes of houses.
I remember growing up in the desert of West Texas where we don’t get much snow to decorate the landscape. In my home town there is a subdivision where all the houses, both sides of the street, are owned by one man. He rents the houses for reasonable rates, but there is a catch. As part of the lease, he requires every one of the houses to be decorated with lights for Christmas. He holds a contest every year to see who has the best light show.
Each year, the lights are more and more elaborate. Each year parades of cars tour that street on Christmas Eve. Each year we
“ooh-ed” and “ah-ed” at how wonderful the lights were. They were absolutely gorgeous with varying themes, brilliant colors, brightly lit houses and yards and even a full size Santa’s sleigh with reindeer and an old fashioned telephone booth to talk to red suited man himself. But, all the lights and decorations of those houses are not even a speck of light compared to the Light that entered the world over 2000 years ago.
All of these decorations and displays add a level to the festive holiday. In fact, we’d probably really miss these decorations at Christmas. But all of them pale in comparison to the Light of our savior Jesus, and the brilliant display he brought into this dark and sinful world. Jesus is the Light of the world.
The World is a Dark and Sinful Place
As early as the first chapter of Genesis, God had to separate the darkness from the light. Shortly after creation, Adam and Eve rebelled by eating the forbidden fruit. Since that time, our world has been a dark and sinful place. The darkness is all around us.
Sin and darkness are synonymous. Each blinds us to what is good and pure. In the dark, we don’t know what dangers are around us, we don’t know where we are, and we don’t know where we are going. The dark keeps us away from God and we’re unable to find the path that leads to Him. The dark and sinful world is selfish and self-centered, corrupt and immoral.
The same sinful world that the Israelites embraced is the same world around us today. The darkness that found our forefathers still finds men and women today. Since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, people were looking forward to a messiah. They were looking for a savior to erase the sins of the past and renew their relationship with God. They were looking for someone to remove the darkness and replace it with light.
Jesus is the Light of the World
Jesus is the source of light and salvation they were looking for. The Apostle John pointed out that the light shines in the darkness and darkness cannot overcome the light. He was talking about the coming of Jesus into this sinful world and the timeless message that he would proclaim to all of creation. Jesus came to shed light in the darkness. He came to offer Himself in our place. He came to replace the darkness with His light. Just like the plants require sun light to survive, we require the Son’s Holy Light for our life in salvation. Light is life.
Christmas is really the celebration of that light. It’s the remembrance of Jesus coming into the world to light a path for us and to show us the way to salvation. The true light, which enlightens everyone, came into the world.
The Light shows the path
Carrying a flashlight on a dark night is a very useful thing. Just like a light can reveal a path home on a dark and stormy night, Jesus is able to reveal the path to salvation through the dark and sinful world we live in.
Where the law of the Old Testament focused on what we shouldn’t do and how we shouldn’t act, Jesus showed us the other side of the coin. He put a spot light on the truth by showing us what we should do and how we should act. Jesus showed us an attitude and not just an action. He showed us the way to salvation through a change in heart.