Life is strange.
In case you haven’t figured that out by now, perhaps reading some of my columns will help cement the idea in your head. I’ve cited several instances of God winks, as they’re sometimes called.
You know, the events or personal experiences often labeled “coincidence,” so amazing that they’re seen as signs of divine intervention, especially when perceived as answers to prayer.
I’ve got another one for you this week.
As I approached writing my last column, my plan was to center on Christians being the light of the world and how critical it is that we share the gospel, reflect the light of Jesus and be the clearly visible lamp spoken of in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
But I got sidetracked searching through old notebooks of sermons and lectures I had heard over the years and ended up being able to include only four sentences on the original topic. I gave a reassurance I would return to the subject in a later column.
Well. Guess what the focus of this past Sunday’s sermon was at our congregation ….
John 8:12 – “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'”
It seems that the time to share more about the topic of light came sooner than I anticipated.
Our minister revealed four aspects of this verse designed to “thrill us and draw us into a deeper discipleship with Jesus.”
First – The Great Truth: Jesus is the light of the world. No life can exist without light. Somewhere someway something had to be touched by light for there to be life. Even those lifeforms at the bottom of the sea that live in total darkness are still somehow affected by light that shines elsewhere.
Darkness cannot overcome light; anyone who strikes a match in a dark room can testify to that. Even the idea that no light can escape from a black hole has now been challenged and is on its way to acceptance.
Second – The Great Condition: Following Him. Jesus will call, but not coerce. God didn’t command Isaiah in the prophet’s great vision of the heavenly throne. God asked: Who will go for me? It was up to Isaiah to volunteer – “Here am I; send me.” Jesus invited the Rich Young Ruler to follow Him, which, unfortunately, did not happen. We choose whom we will serve.
While the What Would Jesus Do bracelets are fine, additional questions abound: What does Jesus love, what does He dislike, what would He avoid ….? Answering such questions – and living out our answers – separates the darkness dwellers from the light walkers.
Third – The Great Promise and the Practice. He can deliver us from this present evil world. He rescues His children from darkness and brings them into His kingdom. As 1 John 1:7 says, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Actually, that’s my very favorite verse. It indicates that, if we are His children, the cleansing is ongoing.
Fourth – The Great Reward. Also from I John, this time from 5:12 – “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” And John 10:10 – “… I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Now, again, guess what.
Another whole peripheral story was cited at this point about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – but, once more, I’m out of space. Suffice it to say that the way this story was related altered my idea of the trio’s experience and is giving me plenty of mental fodder. I promise: I’ll share later.
Sallie Rose Hollis lives in Ruston and retired from Louisiana Tech as an associate professor of journalism and the assistant director of the News Bureau. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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