Holding Heaven by Ron DiCianni


Dec 23

4th Sunday of Advent

I Am the Light of the World

Advent 2018

Heaven’s Loss by Ron DiCianni Heaven’s Loss by Ron DiCianni
© 2018. Image used by Permission
Arise Your Light Has Come (“Wake Awake, For Night is Flying”) - David Danner / Phillip Nicolai, lyricist (tr. Winkworth)
Concordia Choirs / Concordia Sinfonietta / Concert Handbells / Tom Mueller, organ
© 1989 Van Ness Press, Inc. (ASCAP) (admin. by LifeWay Worship c/o Music Services, www.musicservices.org). All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Heaven’s Loss by Ron DiCianni

The light was the light of humanity (John 1:4). In the first sentences of his Gospel, St. John makes it clear that Jesus came for all. Every person. All humanity needs this light. Whether they recognize it or not, even if they turn away from the light to darkness, he still comes.

Why is God so lavish with his grace? Why cast seed on hard, rocky ground in addition to good soil? (Matthew 13:3-9) Why feed, heal, and proclaim the good news to crowds when so many will turn on him? Why does his light cast such a wide beam that it illumines the entire world? Would God not be more discerning to focus on the most likely prospects?

But that is not his character. God cannot be contained. Light cannot be limited to one spot. A small light on a stand can illumine a whole house (Matthew 5:13). A creative word brings light that fills the universe (Genesis 1:3). And the light of Christ? It cannot be limited. Where he shines, there is hope.

John’s Gospel records seven “I Am” statements of Jesus. There is more to these words than first meets the eye. In the original Greek, these particular sayings are phrased in a way that suggests the divine name Yahweh. I Am (Exodus 3:14). Pious Jews would not apply those words to themselves, lest they blaspheme. Though he could have said the same things without this hint of deity, Jesus did not hesitate. The implication is true. He is God in the flesh.

So when our Lord says, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12), he is affirming both his person and his work.

He did not come only for those who watched faithfully for him. Jesus, God incarnate, is the light of the world. He is the light of all humanity. God’s light is for all. He comes for those who have lived for years in God’s light, and for those who have spent a lifetime away. He comes for those who gladly hear God’s word and those who will not listen. He comes for those caught in webs of sin, rebellion, addiction, heartbreak, hatred, anger, fear, bitterness, and every other darkness. Might it be that he comes especially for such as these? For where is the light more needed than where it is darkest.

He comes, unexpected by so many, to shine from a manger—and even from a cross. Because the light cannot be contained. He is God. The light of the world. He comes for all.


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