Devotional Reading: Isaiah 9: 1-6
Lesson Scripture: John 1: 1-5; Ephesians 5:1-2, 6-14
Lesson Aims: To explain the contrast between darkness and light; to understand that as believers we imitate the Light of Jesus; and to shine the Light of love, humility and patience daily.
Background: John, the beloved apostle, wrote his Gospel from a different perspective than the other three. His was more theological in nature. He taught by contrasting opposite concepts. Faith was used “ninety-eight times in the Greek text of this book” (Richards’ Complete Bible Handbook). Needless to say, faith was a key term and action for the apostle. light/darkness were used often to get the believers to make a personal response to the Christ. Paul continued in the “practical application mode” for the remainder of chapters four and five.
To serve God in unity, each individual in the body must have God’s love in them, along with humility and patience. These three terms sum up all of the others that come to mind. Everyone in the body is valued and gifted! There is room for all to serve. At this point in the epistle, Paul also concentrates on theology (matters of doctrine).
Lesson: Our lesson opens with John’s declaration that, “In the beginning was The Word and it became flesh!” The apostle goes back for the Jewish believers and forward for the Gentiles. What do I mean by that? The Jews understand “Word” as the mind and wisdom of God. The Gentiles understand the Greek – logos to mean the reason/rationale behind the universe” (Bible Expositor and Illuminator). John points out that Jesus existed before time and creation.
When God created everything Jesus was there. Ever since man fell out of right relationship with God, He set into motion a plan to redeem His creation. Without God there is darkness, the absence of light. The omnipotent God allowed a part of Himself (Jesus) to become flesh in order to bring light (spiritual and moral insight) to a dying world. This light is accompanied with life – real life! Those who don’t recognize the light continue to live in darkness (can’t find their way). The basic theology here is that God and Jesus are one! He shows God’s glory in a new way. Paul picks up on this concept as he encourages the church at Ephesus. They are to imitate Jesus in all that they do. It is important for the believer to resemble the One who is followed. Whatever comes their way, they are to act like Jesus. Their actions will become like sweet incense to God. Maybe while imprisoned, Paul anticipates the continued rise of false teaching and desired to warn them about straying from the truth. Since the body (as individuals or groups) chose Jesus, they should not look like the ones who remain in darkness. The body of believers is light in darkness for others to come to Him. Their lights are to reflect goodness and righteousness both day and night. The apostle encourages them to stand for the same things that Jesus did. Read Jesus’ call for social, economic, and political justice in Luke 4:18 – 19.
Application: Going back to the devotional reading, Jesus is the light who will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. As Counselor, He will implement and carry out His plan that will change the world. The Mighty God refers to His power over all other powers. There is none above Him! He is eternal as the Everlasting Father. He will protect, defend, and provide. After all, He was there before the beginning and will be after the end. That is deep!
He is the Prince of Peace who will mend the community restoring it to wholeness. He alone is the light of the world. With that in mind, is your light shinning for this magnificent Saviour who changed your life forever? Without Jesus we can’t live in the light. It is only through Him and from Him that we have our being! May God continue to bless and keep you during this Christmas Season? Hallelujah the Light is here.