Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12, NKJV)
Jesus illuminates this world with truth. As the light of the world, Jesus exposes the world with His light. The powerful truth of Christ’s word lays bare the darkness of sin in all its futility, foolishness and falsity. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome) it” (Jno. 1:5). Sin does not overwhelm the light of Christ. As the light of the world, Jesus judges the world. In the last day, His word will judge all who reject Him (Jno. 12:48). By walking in His light you avoid the future condemnation of sin. As the light of the world, Jesus saves the world. He shows the way out of sin; the way to the Father. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (Jno. 1:4). Rejoice and thank God each day that Jesus is “the true Light which gives light to every man” (Jno. 1:9). His true light of truth is “already shining” (1 Jno. 2:8). Follow Jesus. Walk in the light of His truth and be led to eternal life.
31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31–33, NKJV)
God sent His angel Gabriel to the village of Nazareth, there to speak to a virgin named Mary. The angel announced to Mary God’s great plan to send His Son into the world to save and to reign. God’s plans would rise above the ordinary to the extraordinary. This virgin would conceive and bring forth a Son (fulfilling Isaiah 7:14). Mary’s son would be great; superior in every way (Jesus has all preeminence, Col. 1:18). Mary’s son would be God’s Son; both human and divine (fulfilling Isaiah 9:6). This Son would be a king, the sovereign ruler over the people of God. Later, Jesus would tell Pilate He was born to be a king (John 18:37). This Son would reign continually over an enduring kingdom (fulfilling Daniel 2:44). Only Jesus is worthy to accomplish God’s great redemptive plan. Therefore, He is also worthy of our reverential service and unending praise.
30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. 31 For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? (Psalm 18:30-31)
God’s way is perfect, complete and sufficient for your salvation. His word is tested, tried and proven to be accurate. It is the perfect law of liberty into which you must look and then do (Jas. 1:23-25). The overriding reason that God’s way is perfect is because He is the only eternal, self-existing God. He alone is our strength and refuge – our rock against all adversity. The god of Islam is not such a god. The millions of gods of Hinduism are all impotent to save. The god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is not Jehovah of the Bible. The god of Mormonism was once a man – not the eternal I AM. Only the God who reveals Himself in the Bible (and by His Son, Jesus, Jno. 1:18) is Lord; He alone can save you and protect you from sin and its eternal death. The gospel of His Son Jesus tells you how to be saved. Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” and is the only way to the Father (Jno. 14:6). Trust God to save you and protect you by coming to Jesus and following Him – the perfect way to the Father.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
The marriage of grace and truth is complete in Jesus Christ; the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. We need God’s grace and God’s truth; Jesus provides both (Jno. 1:17). God’s grace (unmerited, undeserved favor) offers salvation to every sinner through the cross of Jesus (Titus 2:11). The “word of the truth of the gospel” announces salvation that is obtained “by grace…through faith” (Col. 1:5; Eph. 2:8-9). Like David we cry out, “Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me” (Psa. 40:11). God answered by sending His Son (the Word) to be the Savior of the world and to give us “grace and truth” (Jno. 1:17). Christians stand in the grace of God in Christ because they believe and obey His truth (Rom. 5:1-2). Grace and truth come together in Jesus. You need both to be saved. We all do. That’s why we need Jesus.
10 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 11 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” 12 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” (John 5:16–18)
Jesus was not a Sabbath-breaker. If he was, then he was a sinner; he was not (Exodus 20:8-11; 1 Peter 2:22). However, Jesus did break Sabbath traditions which came to be viewed as binding on people as the law itself. Here is our clear lesson: Human traditions and the will of God are not equivalent. To make them so invariably elevates man’s will above God’s will (Mark 7:1-13). We must not bind on others those things that God does not bind. Neither should we think because we hold some religious tradition that it necessarily pleases God. The religious tradition you hold as binding must come from God, not human beings (2 Thess. 2:15; 3:4).
25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:25-26)
When you serve Jesus Christ you value His will more than life itself. Are you willing to lose your life for Jesus? Perhaps the more pertinent and pressing question is, Are you willing to live for Jesus? If so, then follow Him. Being His servant is far more than saying you love Jesus; it is following His word first and always. By following Jesus the Father will hold you dear and your life is preserved for eternal life.
1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4)
There continue to be those who ignore and deny the truth of the Lord’s return. It will be a day of divine justice against evil. Others dispute the nature of that day. These attempt to predict when that day will take place. They make fanciful calculations using the Bible which dazzle their disciples, but only give false comfort and hope. Christ’s apostles said the day of the Lord will come without warning (“as a thief in the night”) and “they shall not escape”. It will be unexpected and inescapable. Do not be unsettled by those who claim knowledge of when the Lord will come. The Scriptures do not tell us. Not to worry; faithful Christians are always ready for His return (see 1 Thess. 5:5-11).
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18)
There are many fanciful conjectures and false teachings about the return of Jesus Christ. Foremost among them is that Jesus will return to earth itself. Yet, this verse says both dead and living Christians will “meet the Lord in the air” when He returns, and “thus” (in this manner) they shall “always be with the Lord”. This passage is a snapshot of what the saved will experience when Jesus returns. We have great comfort in these words because (1) the Lord Himself will descend, (2) all dead saints will be raised, (3) all living saints will be caught up with them, and (4) all the saints will always be with the Lord – not on earth, but in heaven.
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)
In yesterday’s passage, the apostle Peter exhorted Christians not to be ashamed of Christ in spite of suffering (1 Pet. 4:16). In today’s verse, Jesus explains what form being ashamed of him takes. He also tells what will happen to those who are ashamed of him. Christ cannot be separated from his word (after all, he is “the Word”, Jno. 1:1, 14). So, if one is ashamed of Christ’s words, then he is ashamed of Christ. One shows no allegiance to Christ while denying the words of his New Testament. When Jesus Christ returns he will be ashamed of (deny) those who showed their shame of him by refusing his words. Always remember that Jesus “has the words of eternal life” (Jno. 6:68). Never be ashamed of Jesus and his words. Be wise; Hear the words of Christ and do them (Matt. 7:24-25).
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35)
Prayer is the purposeful expression of one’s mind to God. It was first on Jesus’ mind of a morning, and his example urges us to pray each morning as we rise to face the day. Prayer is deliberate, not haphazard. And so, Jesus gave sufficient time to pray. He did not rush through prayer, but lingered in it as he spoke to his Father. Jesus went to a solitary place to pray, teaching us to do our best to remove distractions when we pray. Before the duties of the busy day engulf you, remember to pray. Linger in prayer to the Father, and be strengthened for the day ahead.