Witnesses to the Light

August 1, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Posted in John | 6 Comments
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At the Feast of Tabernacles the Lord Jesus preached and taught among the people, while dealing at the same time with the Pharisees’ attempts to have a death warrant executed against Him. It’s not hard to imagine the drama and suspense that surrounded Him during those seven or eight days. Everything He said must have carried tremendous impact (John 7:46). The feast culminated with a big ceremony in which a pitcher of water was poured out and a big lampstand was lit. Jesus used these poignant signs to describe Himself as the Living Water (John 7:37-38) and the Light of the World.

How bright or how dark has your life been lately? Are you seeing clearly as you walk with the Savior, or are you stumbling about, alternately depressed, disoriented, discombobulated, dumbfounded, and discouraged, as if your spouse rearranged the furniture in your house without telling you just before the electricity went out?

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:12 (emphasis added)

This is the second of the recognized I AM statements in John. It hearkens back to John 1, which teaches us that Jesus is the life-giving and truth-revealing light of men. People prefer darkness, though, because their deeds are evil. They are willing to put up with blindness and deceit if it allows them enjoy the delusion that their sin is hidden – or at least not so bad as to offend an all-seeing God.

The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.

John 8:13

The Pharisees tried a different tack, using the Old Testament law requirement of two or three witnesses to testify in agreement in order to establish the truth claims of a legal dispute. Jesus would answer them based on their assertion, but pause for a moment to consider how offensive it is to accuse the Truth Himself of being a liar.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.

John 8:14

Jesus could call the greatest witness of all: the One Who commissioned Him to come here from Heaven and speak the Truth.

And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

John 8:16-19

No doubt they did not perceive the capital F that Jesus meant when He said “Father.” They counted Joseph of Nazareth as totally unworthy of supporting such a claim to Deity, and they would have had a point, except Jesus had His real Father in mind.

Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.

John 8:21

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

John 8:24

Jesus did not sugarcoat the consequences of rejecting His claims and the grace He offered, but this confirms that they were not on the same page:

They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.

John 8:27

Jesus had the ultimate authority to back up His claims.

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him.

John 8:28-30

Double Vision, Divided Vision, and Darkened Vision

May 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Matthew | 8 Comments
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It’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted on The Deep End. The reason for this is that I recently had eye surgery, and the recovery period – in which I’ve been gradually regaining enough vision to be able to read and type comfortably again – has taken longer than I thought it would. I must praise the Lord and thank Him for being with me during the surgery, and for the healing and results He has given me by His power. I have, by His grace, been learning not to take His marvelous gift of eyesight for granted. If the Lord decides to take away my eyesight or allow it to be taken away at this point in my life, I would have no reason to complain. I have seen enough wonderful things so far in my life – things that I never deserved to see – that I would (hopefully, again, by His grace) be forever grateful.

I have also been meditating on passages of Scripture dealing with eyesight, such as:

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Matthew 6:22

During the past few years, as I have struggled with bouts of double (and triple!) vision, I can certainly attest that I much prefer “single vision.” Just as God has given us the gift of light, and the gift of amazingly complex biological organs and anatomical processes that allow that light to place accurate images of our surrounding reality into our brains, so has He given us the opportunity to be “single” rather than “divided” in our devotion to Him. If I am “double minded,” I will be unstable in all my ways. If I have “double vision,” letting the false and vain things of this world blur together with the things of God and His Kingdom, then my body will begin to fill up with the evil deeds of darkness, and I will stumble about, alternately frightened, confused, and depressed, dishonoring God and veering toward danger and destruction.

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Matthew 6:23

May the Lord help me, with the gift of eyesight He has given me, to fill my mind and body with thoughts and deeds of glorious light. May He help me to be united in vision and purpose, seeking to do His will, and to reflect His life-giving light in a dark and blinded world.

clear vision

Beware the Father of the Furtive

April 17, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Posted in The Fives | 5 Comments
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Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

I Thessalonians 5:5

In one sense, to say that Christians are “children of light” and “children of the day,” is a figure of speech. In obedience to Christ, we are to walk in the light of His truth, as He is in the light, and our righteous activities ought to be done honestly and without guile. We should also be awake and alert (I Thessalonians 5:6), on the lookout for opportunities to serve with care and compassion in a dark and deceived world, and on the lookout for the return of our Master, to Whom we will give an account.

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

I Thessalonians 5:4

In another sense, though, we may understand that we really are children “of” the light and the day, as opposed to the children “of” the night and the darkness. We belong to the holy God, who is the Father of Lights, not to Satan, whose nickname is “The Prince of Darkness.”

Satan likes the cover of darkness. He has a way of convincing people that those things done in the absence of light are done in secret, though the Bible tells us plainly they are really not. He likes subtility, craftiness, and sleight of hand. Those of us who are in Christ do not belong to this shadowy manipulator any longer, but we need to frequent areas that are brightly lit with spiritual light, and on those occasions when we must venture into his realm to rescue a soul in the power of the Holy Spirit, we should go in with our Gospel lights blazing.

When “closing time” at the nightclub suddenly arrives, those patrons who are behaving drunkenly and lecherously are jerked into a state of shame and revulsion as the lights come on.

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A similar effect may be observed when a Spirit-filled Christian shows up in the midst of the life of a non-Christian reveling in sin. This “moment of clarity” may only last for an instant, but, when it happens to one of your friends, co-workers, acquaintances, or family members, you, as a child of the Light of the World Himself, will want to be prepared to “work while it is day.”

Your Vocation

June 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Isaiah, Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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If you work at a “secular” job (as opposed to a paid ministry position), let me offer you a suggestion: Consider thinking about your job as not just a job, not just an occupation, not just a position, or a career, or even a profession. Consider thinking of it as your “vocation.”

What do I mean by that? I mean that “vocation” is a word derived from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call,” and from which we get words like “vocal” and “vocabulary” and even “voice.” The idea is that, in a spiritual sense, as a Christian, you are to do what God has “called” you to do.

1. Your vocation is real.

The Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle in Ephesians 4:1 and wrote: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…” It is very important that you do not compartmentalize your spiritual convictions away from the rest of your life, including your job.

Most secular jobs are difficult. They involve situations where problems are encountered on a regular basis, and if they were problems with easy solutions, chances are, you and your job would not be necessary to deal with them. A recognition that your calling is from God will give you determination and purpose in dealing with problems. It will also remind you to seek God’s help in dealing with these problems.

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

II Timothy 1:8-9 (emphasis added)

The first calling you ever received as a Christian was the calling to become a Christian, and it is no surprise to God that you are on the career path where you now find yourself. He has a gracious purpose in mind, just as much as if you had been called to some official religious office. In the Kingdom of God that you are a part of if you are truly a Christian, there is no “sacred” and “secular” for you! Your briefcase, your hardhat, your pens and calendar, your suit, coat, tie, or coveralls are sacred because they are used in your vocation.

2. Your vocation is relevant.

There is a great need for Christians in whatever field you are employed, but that need does not exist because the problems of this world have become too big for God, nor does he need your help sorting them out. However, He chooses to glorify Himself by expressing His attributes in a fallen world.

None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

Isaiah 59:4

The types of problems which Isaiah is describing are right in there with things like shedding innocent blood and oppression of the weak and poor, and all sorts of lying and deceitfulness – the things which God abhors and which provoke His wrath. Prophetically, Isaiah 59 speaks to the days in which we live just as much as it did to the people of Israel during Old Testament times. The entanglements and problems that you will see among your co-workers, customers, or clients are not the products of innocent happenstance. When you go to work, you are going into a dark, hostile environment, like it or not.

Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.

Isaiah 59:9

This is possibly what Jesus had in mind when He said that His followers were to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Our world does not need any more darkness. It needs salt and light, and I’m asking you to consider the possibility that God Himself has called you with a real divine calling to be that salt and that light in a place and at a time where it is very relevant and needed: on your job.

Light Is Stronger than Darkness

December 16, 2011 at 11:38 am | Posted in Biblical Light, II Corinthians, John | 9 Comments
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When we find ourselves in darkness, and that darkness is scary, inconvenient, depressing, frustrating, or confusing, our minds turn immediately to a simple solution: Turn on the light.
The world in which we live, spiritually speaking, is often dark, disturbing, and dismaying. Therefore, it is crucial that we have a dependable source of light. Jesus says:

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

John 12:46

It is difficult to make a room totally dark. Even with the lights all turned off and the windows covered, one little ray of light shining from under a door will soon begin to illuminate the darkness. A tiny spark will, if only briefly, totally defeat the darkest dungeon. The same is true with Christ. His light is stronger than all the powers of darkness.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 4:6

Light Produces Life

August 19, 2011 at 9:15 am | Posted in Biblical Light, John | 7 Comments
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Living things need light. A plant will die if it is left in the dark. Human life as we know it on Earth requires sunlight.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Genesis 1:3

For Christians, Jesus is the Light which gives us life.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:4

Jesus was present and active in the creation of man. The “divine spark” which God placed in Adam, giving life to the human race, came from His Divinity. Since the beginning He has associated light with life.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:12

Jesus’s deliberate use of “I AM,” God’s Self-revealed Old Testament name, showed that He was in fact God incarnate, possessing not only the power to create original life, but the power to create the new life we receive when we trust Him as Savior.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 9:5

How bright is the world around you? Has your life grown dark? Only Jesus Christ has the power to illuminate spiritual darkness.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

John 11:25

Our lost friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors are spiritually dead. But the Light of Jesus Christ is so bright and so powerful that it can bring them to life. Jesus’s Light produces life because He Himself is “the Life.”

Light Shows the Way

July 29, 2011 at 9:03 am | Posted in Biblical Light, Selected Psalms | 9 Comments
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NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105

Imagine coming home from work late one night after the rest of your family has gone to bed. Unbeknownst to you, earlier in the day your spouse had decided to rearrange all the furniture. Not wanting to wake anyone in the house, you decide to trod the well-known path to your own bedroom without turning on any lights. You can probably predict the painful and possibly expensive results – and if you can’t, your shins and that shattered table lamp surely can.

Or imagine trying to find your way through a dense forest in the middle of a moonless night without a flashlight. The point is, in the dark, it is easy to wander off the right path, and get lost. A light or lantern will make it easy to follow the path.

The Bible helps us find the right way in a dark world. God’s Word not only alerts us to dangers coming at us, but it helps us to see the things around us more clearly. Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is also the Way to Heaven. If we stay close to Jesus, trust His Word, and illuminate the darkness around us, we will avoid many dangers, toils, and snares.

Light Shows the Truth

June 27, 2011 at 10:12 am | Posted in Biblical Light, John, Selected Psalms | 15 Comments
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O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

Psalm 43:3

The are many dangers in trying to find our way in the dark. One of these is the probability of deception. It is difficult to be deceived when things are open and visible, but in times of darkness there is a strong possibility that things are not – in reality – what we are led to believe. Perhaps the greatest deception takes place in our own hearts when we choose to walk in darkness rather than in the light of God’s Truth.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 3:21

Darkness hides the way things really are. A light shined into a dark space will show what is truly inside. Jesus Himself is the Truth, and He always tells us the truth about ourselves. Ask Him to fully illuminate your heart and mind today, so that you will not be deceived.


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