Posts Tagged ‘light of the world’

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart– These, O God, You will not despise. Psalms 51:17

God works within the realm of man’s impossibilities so that He will get all the glory, but don’t think for a moment that our Lord is a glory-monger. The reality is that God knows if we get any credit, any fame, any honor, others will tend to follow us and that in time we will stumble and consequently trip up our followers. In His holy simplicity our Father says, “Just follow me and there will be no mishaps.”

The story of Gideon exemplifies this principle. Gideon’s army is one-fourth the size of the enemies one hundred and thirty-five thousand. The Lord ultimately narrows the field to just three hundred until the Israelis are out numbered four hundred and fifty to one. Historically, it’s the not the first time drew upon this ratio; God’s prophet Elijah faced the same odds.

I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 1 Kings 18:22

Back to Gideon

As directed by the Lord, Gideon gives these three hundred men a trumpet, a torch, and a jar, and says…

“Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do: When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!’ ” So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers–they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing–and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” Judges 7:17-20

A Leader Leads

The Apostle Paul made a similar declaration when he proclaimed, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,” in 1 Corinthians 11:1. The fact of the matter is true leaders lead by example and as directed by the Father through His Holy Spirit. But what I really like about this passage of scripture is the Biblical illustration it provides; a formula, if you will, regarding how a Christian dynamically lives out his or her faith. Believers can easily envelop themselves within the symbolism represented in the verse. Read the Judges passage again and consider these three New Testament references:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us…The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 2 Corinthians 4:7; Psalms 51:17a; Matthew 5:16

We are these earthen vessels, being formed by God from the very dust of the earth, having His own breath blown into us. We have not formed ourselves, we have been formed as a jar upon the Potter’s wheel, only to be broken; born again as it were, so the Master’s light; our light that we willing have received, might shine forth into a darkened world. Humbly, we obediently submit ourselves to the process and in so doing are abundantly blessed. Is that your testimony?

No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. Luke 11:33

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“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower–and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. 3And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold. Exodus 25:31-36Some fixtures within the Tabernacle were constructed of acacia wood covered with gold, the wood speaking illustratively of Christ’s humanity and the gold His deity. First notice that the lampstand is made exclusively of gold. As we go through each verse and each word in some cases, we further see the significance and prophetic picture being depicted of Jesus Christ and our life in Him.

Pure Gold, Beaten into Form

The pure gold speaks of both deity and perfection; two qualities found only in our Lord. The lampstand was not pieced together, but strenuously beaten and stretched from one source in much the same way Jesus was beaten and stretched out for one singular purpose.

He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

One Lamp–Six Branches

We cannot picture this lamp with it’s one main shaft and six branches without calling to mind the image Jesus Himself gave us in the Gospel of John.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Out of the Side

The branches come out of the side or main shaft of the lampstand. If we think back to Genesis we remember that in the Garden of Eden, a rib was taken from Adam’s side in order to create for him a bride.

Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Genesis 2:22

Now Consider that Jesus is the Last Adam…

And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45

And He Also Takes a Bride

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2

And We Too Were Birthed From His Side

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. John 19:34

But What About the Almonds?

I just learned today that in the middle east, the almond is the first tree to blossom and also the first tree to bear fruit. Keeping with the typology and prophetic illustration, Jesus is our first fruits.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20

“…All of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold”

This is likely the most exciting aspect of the picture—as one piece in Christ, we are seen as gold too. Consider these three coupled passages…

For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness…so we, being many, are one body in Christ… Hebrews 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; Romans 12:5

So We’re Beaten Too?

Understand the implication and see it for the good news it truly is. As Christ’s light most folks do not pay heed to us when things are going well. However, when things start to go sour, then people take notice. “How will ‘Joe-Christian’ fair this storm, ” they likely ask. It is in our misfortunes that we can shine brightest. It was that principle the writer was referring to in 1 Peter 3:14-15 when he wrote…

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you… 1 Peter 3:14-15

So Who Is the Light of the World?

After all Jesus said in John 8:12 that He is the Light of the world and then in Matthew 5:14 He proclaims that we are the light of the world. Which is true? Well since Jesus cannot lie, they are both true. Likely the best correlation we can make is the idea of Jesus being the greater light, as our sun is the greater light. We then would be the lesser light, or in this case the moon. The moon does not have any light of its own, but reflects the light of the son. We are light; reflectors of the Son’s light lest the world gets between the two of us.

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