We Shine Because He Shined: Stop Trying to Produce Your Own Light

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as recorded by John Mark. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-one through forty-one of the fourth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of scripture you will find Jesus the Christ transitioning from the parable of the sower, the seed and the four soils to now speaking about a candle that is not meant to be hidden under a bushel but is meant to be put on a candlestick in order that it might shine brightly. Before I even begin to get into that which is found in this passage of scripture I can’t help but be utterly and completely captivated by the reality of what is expressed in the concept and truth of the cancel not meant to be his under a bushel, nor hidden and placed under a bed. I absolutely love the words which Jesus the Christ speaks within this passage of scripture, for when he speaks of the candle not intended and not meant to be hidden that which He is speaking about is you and I. When Jesus spoke about the candle and how the candle was never intended on being hidden, He was making and emphatic declaration that you and I as the light of the world was never created and never intended on being hidden or concealed behind or under something that would hide the light. As I am sitting here this morning I can’t help but not only be struck with the declaration that we weren’t meant to be hidden and concealed, but is actually meant to be shone brightly in the midst of the darkness. When I sit here and consider the concept of that which could hide and conceal the light that radiates and flows forth from the candle, I can’t help but think about that which might be hiding and concealing the light which we are supposed to be shining brightly in the midst of this fallen and dark world. I can’t help but think of and consider the fact that there are very well men and women among us within our churches and within your sanctuaries who although they have been called to be the light of the world, they are allowing and have allowed various things to hide, and even conceal the light which they are to shine.

Permit me to sit here this morning and ask you a very pointed yet necessary question. The question I would seek to ask you is actually quite simple and quite powerful at the same time. I would like to ask you what it is that is keeping you from shining the light you were meant to shine. I would like to ask you what is hiding and what is concealing the light which you have been called to shine within the darkened world we are presently living in? Are you aware of those things within your life which are causing the light which is inside you to be hidden and suppressed in the midst of the darkened world? I can’t help but be gripped and captivated with and by the fact that Jesus is in fact the light of the world, and Jesus is in fact the light of men, and yet we as His disciples and followers are called and created to be lights in the midst of and lights unto the world. We as the saints of the living God have been called and created to shine forth a light which pierces the darkness and exposes and dispels it. As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about the fact that the moon is able to shine brightly in the night sky—not because it has its own light source with which to draw from, but because it reflects and radiates the light from the sun. It’s worth noting that when the Lord ordained the two lights at the beginning of creation—the lesser light to govern the night, and the greater light to govern the day—He ordained and created the moon to imply reflect the light of the sun which shone brightly during the day. It was and it is true that the living God ordained and appointed two lights with which to govern two parts of the day, and yet the lesser of the two lights, and the light which shines during the day is merely a reflection of he light which flows forth and radiates from the light of the sun which shines during the day. We must be aware of this principle, for we cannot think for one minute that the light which we have been called to shine forth and radiate originates from us ourselves, but is merely a reflection of the light of the Son which has already come into, and has already shone in the earth. The eternal Son of the living God took on human flesh and dwelt among us, and did so as the light of the world. If we are going to be honest with ourselves and honest before and with the living God we must understand that within and upon us light is only made possible because of the divine light of Jesus the Christ who not only shines brightly upon us, but also shines within us.

WE SHINE BECAUSE HE SHINES! WE SHINE BECAUSE HE ALREADY SHONE! The more I consider this reality and concept of our ability to shine because Jesus Himself first shone I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke concerning Jesus the Christ the Messiah who would enter into the world—words which the apostle Matthew quoted and referenced when writing his gospel account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you turn and direct your attention to the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will come to the twelfth verse of the chapter which speaks of Jesus coming to dwell in Capernaum after His spent most of life growing up and living in the town of Nazareth. Scripture reveals that after Jesus had heard that John the Baptist had been cast into prison, He departed from Nazareth and departed from Galilee and came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew beginning with the twelfth verse of the chapter:

“Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, He departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Nephthalim: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zebulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Matthew 4:12-16).

In order to understand that which is found in this particular passage of Scripture it is necessary to turn and direct your attention back to the ninth chapter of the Old Testament prophet of Isaiah, for it is in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah we find the prophet speaking of the coming of the Messiah and the great light which the Messiah would shine forth in the midst of the earth and in the midst of the darkness. Beginning with the first verse of the ninth chapter we find the following words which were spoken by the prophet Isaiah concerning the Messiah who would come into the earth at the appointed and ordained time of the living God. Consider if you will the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke when describing the coming of the Messiah at the appointed time ordained by the living God:

“Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphthali, and afterward did more greviously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden,k and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:1-6).

The words and the language we find written within this particular passage of Scripture is truly remarkable and truly captivating, for within it we find the prophet Isaiah writing and speaking concerning the Messiah who was to come—the Messiah Himself who would be the light that would pierce the darkness and would completely obliterate and dispel it. When writing and speaking concerning the Messiah the prophet Isaiah was inspired by the Holy Spirit to emphatically declare that the Messiah was to come into the earth in order that He might be the light of the world, and in order that His light might shine forth in the midst of the darkness. Within the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah the prophet emphatically and boldly declares that the people which walked in darkness have seen a great light, and how those which dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon those individuals the light has shined. Oh, please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of this reality, for if we are to understand the light which we have been called, ordained and appointed to shine in the earth among men and in the darkness, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize that our light which we have been called to shine is a light that is nothing more than a reflection of the light which has already shone within the earth. The light which we as the people and saints of God have been called to shine is a light that is made possible because of the example of light which already shone in the earth—a light which both exposed and dispelled the darkness which was so pervasive within and upon the earth. We would be incredibly naïve to think that the light we have been called to shin is in fact a light which flows and originates from us ourselves and does not originate and has not originated with the light which has already shone brightly in the earth. There was a time when the true light of the world shone brightly in the earth, and there was a time when the people which walked in darkness saw a great light, and when those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death experienced a great light shining upon them. This particular reality is expressed by the apostle John at the beginning and opening of his gospel account when he writes and speaks concerning Jesus the Christ, and how Jesus is in fact the light of the world. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find the following words which were written by the apostle John when writing unto the saints which were at Ephesus concerning Jesus the Christ:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shine the in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of that Light, that all men through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the truth Light, which lighters every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made 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 1:1-14).

Within this particular passage of Scripture we find the apostle John not only emphatically declaring that Jesus Christ is the Word, and that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, but also that the same was in the beginning with God. The apostle John transitions to a place where he begins writing how in Jesus the Christ is and was life, and how that life was the light of men. It is this light which shines in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not for it could not recognize or appreciate it. What’s more, is that John the Baptist went on to declare that there was a man sent from God whose name was John—this same John who came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. The apostle John plainly and clearly declares John the Baptist was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. The apostle John was very specific when writing and speaking concerning the Light which was come into the world in order that it might shine brightly in the earth and provide light for and unto all men. It was this Light which shines brightly in the earth and shines within and upon the hearts of men. What’s more is there was a forerunner which the living God and Heavenly Father ordained and appointed to prepare the world and prepare men to experience and encounter the Light, for how men received the light would be of the utmost importance within their lives and within their journeys as saints and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. From the opening and beginning of the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ the apostle John writes and declares how Jesus the Christ was in fact the Light of men, and how that Light shines in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. Imagine walking during those days and walking in the midst of a time when such a great light shone brightly in the midst of the earth. Imagine walking upon the earth during that time and experiencing the true light of the living God and Heavenly Father within and upon the earth. Imagine actually being present before and in the midst of the light which was sent into the earth in order that it might shine brightly within and upon the earth within and upon the hearts of men. Taking this a step further I am thoroughly convinced that we must come to terms with another declaration which Jesus the Christ made when speaking unto those whom He spoke unto during the time He walked upon the earth. Beginning with the twelfth verse of the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John we find the following words which were spoken by Jesus the Christ unto the crowds and unto the Pharisees, and recorded by the apostle John:

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto Him, Thou nearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bearers witness of me. Then said they unto Him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as He taught in the Tempe: and no man laid hands on Him; for His hour was not yet come” (John 8:12-20).

If you continue reading the New Testament gospel of John you will find two additional references concerning Jesus speaking of Himself as the Light of the world—as the Light which was sent into the world in order it might shine brightly within and upon the hearts, and minds, and lives of men. If you turn and direct your attention to the ninth chapter of the same New Testament gospel account written by the apostle John you will find the following words concerning Jesus the Christ and an encounter with a man who was born blind from birth. Consider if you will the words which are found in this passage beginning with the first verse of the ninth chapter of the apostle of John:

“And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in Him. I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world. When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing” (John 9:1-7).

Within this particular passage of Scripture we find Jesus the Christ emphatically declaring unto His disciples that He needed to work the works of Him which sent Him while it was the day, for the night is coming when no man can work. What’s more is that Jesus would go on to emphatically declare that as long as He was in the world He was the light of the world. With these words—in addition to the words which He spake in the treasury while He taught and spoke in the Temple—we discover the tremendous reality that Jesus the Christ is in fact and was in fact the light of the world, and that that light was meant to shine brightly in the midst of the darkness. When speaking in the treasury unto the Pharisees and all those who listened to Him teach in the midst of the sanctuary, Jesus plainly and succinctly declared that He was the light of the world, and that those who followed Him would not walk in darkness but should have the light of life. When speaking unto His disciples concerning the man who was born blind Jesus would again declare that He was the light of the world—this so long as He was in the world. If you continue reading in the New Testament gospel of John you will find the apostle recording yet another place where Jesus would emphatically declare that He was in fact the light of the world. Beginning with the twenty-third verse of this passage we find the following words which were spoken by Jesus unto those who were gathered before Him on this particular occasion. Consider if you will the words which are found and recorded in this passage of Scripture beginning with the twenty-third verse of the chapter:

“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that liveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father Ho our. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to Him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered Him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man? Then Jesus said unto them, Ye a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walkathons in darkness knoweth not wither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be children of light” (John 12:23-36).

It is quite obvious when reading the words contained and found within the New Testament gospel of John that Jesus came and entered into the world in order that He might shine brightly as the light which is found to be among men. When Jesus the Christ came and entered into the world, He came in order that He might displace and dispel the darkness which was found in the earth in order that a great and wonderful light might be seen and experienced by men. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close attention to this reality, for if we are to understand our call to shine as the light unto the world and in the midst of the darkness, we must first recognize that Jesus Christ is Himself the true Light. Just as it was spoken of John the Baptist that He was not that Light, so we must also recognize and understand that we ourselves are not that Light, but are merely a reflection of the Light which has already come into the world. With all this being said, it’s worth noting that in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we find Moses recounting the creation of the heavens and the earth. What is truly remarkable and truly astonishing when considering this particular passage of Scripture is the tremendous language contained therein concerning the presence of light and darkness. It’s worth noting that from before the creation of the heavens and the earth there was darkness, and ever since the beginning of creation one of the greatest actions of the living God was to not only separate light from darkness, but also use the light to dispel, displace and completely remove the darkness. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the following words:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the Light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day…And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day” (Genesis 1:1-5, 14-19).

Ever since the beginning of creation God has been in the business of creating light in the midst of the darkness, and separating light from the darkness. Ever since the beginning of creation the living God has ordained and appointed the light should shine forth in the darkness, and that there should be a clear and distinct difference between both light and darkness. In the opening verses of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we find and read how God ordained and called for Light, and there was light. God saw the light and saw that it was good, and God divided the light from darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. If you continue reading the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find God creating lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and to let them be for seasons, and for days, and years, and for them to be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. What’s more, is that God made two great lights—the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. Moses goes on to write and recorded how God made the stars in addition to the sun and the moon, and How God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, ,and to divide the light from the darkness. LIGHT TO RULE THE DAY! LIGHT TO SHINE UPON AND GIVE LIGHT UPON THE EARTH! GIVE LIGHT UPON THE EARTH! TO RULE OVER THE DAY AND OVER THE NIGHT! TO DIVIDE THE LIGHT FROM THE DARKNESS! We must recognize that when God created light and separated it from darkness, He created, ordained and appointed light in order that it might rule over the day and rule over the night, and in order that it might give light upon the earth. It’s worth noting that twice within this passage of Scripture we find that God created the lights and set them in a very specific place in order that they might give light upon the earth, and in order that they might shine brightly within and upon the earth. This reality is actually quite important for us when thinking about and speaking concerning Jesus the Christ being the Light of the earth, as well as our being called to be the light of the earth, for Jesus as the light came to give light upon the earth, and we as His disciples and followers are created and intended on not only being the Light, but also giving the Light. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew beginning with the thirteenth verse of the chapter:

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his Saviour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world, A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it give them light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

When reading the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark you will find John Mark recounting Jesus asking a very specific question of those whom He spoke to—namely the question of whether or not a candle is brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed. Jesus would go on to write and declare that a candle is bought to be set on a candlestick, in order that there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested, neither any thing that was kept secret be kept secret, but that it should come abroad. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the wonderful and powerful call that has been placed upon our lives to be the light unto men which shine brightly in order that we might give light upon the earth. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the wonderful and powerful truth that we have been called to shine brightly as lights unto and upon the earth in order that the darkness might be dispelled and displaced. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are in fact shining our light and allowing our light to shine in the midst of the darkness. Jesus was the One who declared that we must let our light so shine before men that they might see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven. What we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are truly allowing our light to so shine within and upon the earth in order that men might see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Are you letting your light so hide before men that they might see your good works and your good deeds and glorify your Father which is in heaven? It was true that Jesus came into the world as the greater light, but it also true that there were lights which were appointed, ordained and destined to shine in the darkness in order that it might give light unto men. Oh that we would be men and women who allow our lights to shine brightly in the earth in order that it might dispel and displace the darkness which is so pervasive in the earth.

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