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God’s Word for You

Luke 11:35-36 light

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, July 24, 2018

35 Therefore, see to it that the light that is in you is not darkness. 36 So if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely full of light, as when a lamp shines on you with its bright light.”

Among the Gospel writers, it is usually John who takes up the matter of Jesus’ explanations of simple words with deep theological meaning. Light, life, word, witness, grace and glory are just a few examples of these special terms. Here Luke is the one who recalls Jesus’ special attention to “light” and what it means in the life of the Christian.

“See to it that the light that is in you is not darkness.” The light that is in you is your faith in Christ. Light is a word which indicates the presence of God and the work of God throughout the Bible, in historical fact as well as poetic expression. The first creative act of God was to make light (Genesis 1:3). God “wraps himself in light as with a garment” (Psalm 104:2), and in a complete sense, “God is light” (1 John 1:5), “in him there is no darkness at all.” “Light” also describes the content of the Gospel message: “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light” (Hebrews 10:32). And light is the path we take under God’s guidance. The exile mourns: “He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light” (Lamentations 3:2).

Having the light of faith within you, do not make it dark with false teaching, doubt, or contempt for God’s commandments. Whoever despises the preaching of the gospel turns his light into darkness and embraces the darkness of unbelief. That might not be his intention, but it will be the end result. He will be like a boy who never listens to his teachers while he has them, who wastes a dozen years of school and then complains that he can’t keep a job. The man who avoids the preaching of the gospel is unprepared when a false teacher knocks at his door and offers a seemingly easier path to heaven—easier than trusting in Christ. He buys into the path of a certain method, or pseudo-science, or anything that either bypasses Christ or diminishes Christ, so that the cross is emptied of its meaning and of its value. What was light becomes completely dark.

Consider the way Jesus expresses his point: “If your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely full of light.” To be full of a thing is to be completely full, with no part empty of the thing. We could say this of a glass of water, full up to the top. None of it is empty of the water—it is completely full. I suppose it could be said of a bowl full of grapes or potatoes on the dinner table. If it’s full, no part of it is empty. So it is with light in a room. When all is lit, no part is in shadows. The High Priest got to experience this in the Holy of Holies in September every year when he went in for the sacrifice and prayers on the Day of Atonement. The interior walls of the Holy of Holies were lined with golden plates, so that his little censer of incense would have thrown light against the gold that would have reflected everywhere in the room—the walls, the ark of the covenant, the atonement cover, the poles for carrying it, and even the huge statues of the cherubim—everywhere there was gold reflecting the light. And so it is with us if we fill ourselves with the light of the gospel. If we embrace the word of God offered to us over and over again in our lives, and don’t allow false teaching, doubt or contempt to cloud it over, we will be filled with light, and no darkness at all will be in us. We’re familiar with the words the Great Psalm, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105), but God also says there, “The unfolding of your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). Make the temple of the Holy Spirit in your body a beautiful church, overlaid everywhere with the golden understanding of the gospel of the forgiveness of sins and of everlasting life in Christ. Let there be no shadow within you, but light welcoming light. Let the light of Jesus illumine you, brighten you, and make you shine.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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