Summary: Jesus reveals himself by invading the darkness of the world.
20150104 2nd Sunday after Christmas B (Epiphany) Web Site
Title: Light in a Dark Place
Text: Isaiah 60:1-6
Thesis: Jesus reveals himself by invading the darkness of the world.
This is the Season of Epiphany during which we mark the ways Jesus is made known. Epiphany means to show or to make known or to reveal.
One morning I left our home early… it was dark outside. I had been navigating our back steps for nearly 8 years so I did not bother to turn on the back stoop light. I missed the first step. I lunged forward down the steps. I managed to keep my legs going almost as fast as my body was lurching as I sped head-long across our patio. About that time I plowed into our gas grill which also went airborne. I finally face-planted in the backyard. My face was scraped and I had grass in my mouth. My glasses were missing. My trousers were torn. Everything hurt… especially my right leg. I managed to crawl back up the steps and rang the doorbell until Bonnie rescued me. She found what was left of my glasses and when my leg turned black she took me to the doctor who put me on a blood thinner and told me to turn on the light next time. A little light dispels the darkness and shows us the way.
In Isaiah 9:2 the prophet looked forward hundreds of years and saw the birth of the Messiah… “A child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.” Isaiah 9:6-7
Isaiah prefaced those statements regarding the Messiah’s reign with these words, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2
The gospels all affirm that Jesus is in fact the fulfillment of that prophecy. In Matthew 42 generations are played out in the genealogy that concludes: “Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.” Matthew 1:16
Skipping forward 30 years we hear Jesus say, “I am the light of the world.” Jesus is the light that dispels our fears and shows us the way through life to eternal life saying, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
I would like to begin this morning with taking a closer look at the implications of darkness.
I. Darkness (Someone with a rather bleak outlook on life once said, “Life is one long road to darkness.”)
• Darkness and death (When we speak of this kind of darkness we speak literally.)
“Why did you bring me out of my mother’s womb? Why didn’t you let me die at birth? Then I would have been spared this miserable existence… I would have gone directly to the grave…” Job 10:18-22
If there is a bummer passage is scripture this is it. In the book of Job we find the ancient sufferer musing: “Why did you bring me out of my mother’s womb? Why didn’t you let me die at birth? Then I would have been spared this miserable existence… I would have gone directly to the grave… so leave me alone that I may have a little comfort before I leave for the land of darkness and utter gloom, never to return. It is a land as dark as midnight, a land of utter gloom where confusion reigns and the light is as dark as midnight.” Job 10:18-22
On December 16 LiveScience and more recently the Huffington Post reported the discovery of a million mummy cemetery in Egypt. The mummies are not typical mummies but the dead were mummified by the arid climatic conditions of desert Egypt. The mummies are not of the rich but are the poor of their day and are often buried in what we would call mass-graves.
They report that the mummies date back to the years through the 1st and 7th centuries when Egypt was under the rule of the Roman Empire. Those mummies had not seen the light of day for over 2,000 years. The grave is a place of a long darkness…
Darkness is also associated with depression.
• Darkness and Depression (Figuratively dark)
“Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, miserable, imprisoned in iron chains of misery.” Psalm 107:10
In Psalm 42 the Psalmist is deeply depressed and repeatedly cries out to God asking: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad.” “O God, why have you forgotten me?” “Why must I wander around in grief…?” “Why am I so discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?”