Is your light shining for Christ? It’s not about our words; it’s about our lives. Is He your Lord? Your King? Your Master?
1 A good name [to bear His name] is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed [by Christ and by others as a follower of Christ] is better than silver or gold.
Yesterday, we discovered that Jesus moved the temple (His earthly dwelling place) from Jerusalem to the hearts of His disciples. Then, He made a whole bunch of disciples–an estimated 3,000. Over the next few days, several more thousand came to be “mobile temples” (see Acts 2:41, 47 and 4:4). The Spirit of God expanded His temple again with the salvation of Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:44-46), thus signifying that the Gentiles were now included in God’s salvation and family. The LIGHT of Christ was going out unto all the world–Finally! You may ask, “What do you mean, finally?” The job of sharing the light of God to the world was first given to the Jews, but they ignored their assignment. When Jesus came, the leaders of that day didn’t recognize Him because their culture had taught them that they were special to God, and they had become exclusive. Let’s look at some passages:
5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” Deuteronomy 4:5-6
6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:6-7
6 [The LORD] says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
Jesus came to fulfill these verses. Simeon prophesied about it when Jesus was presented at the temple:
28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:28-32
Jesus was both a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of God’s people Israel. He was the fulfillment of all the prophecies concerning the Messiah. Jesus has given us the same assignment:
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl [as the Jews did]. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore [as you] go [being a light to the Gentiles] and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Israel began in one man, Abraham, and became a nation under one man, Moses; it became great under David, and was the vehicle for the Savior of the world, Jesus. The congregation begun under Moses continues to this day and will continue until He returns. We have this promise:
18 For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. Ephesians 2:18-22
The continuity of God’s plan is wondrous! We can now use this foundational teaching to help us interpret many difficult passages of Scripture, many of which we may tackle in the future.
Abba, thank You for the truth of Your Plan. Thank You for including me in Your plan! I have been grafted in to the Vine of Christ; may I stay “hooked up,” feeding on the truth of Your Word. Draw us to Yourself even as You build us up into Your glorious temple. Amen.