I like jogging around town at night during the Christmas season. It is great seeing the Christmas lights. It makes me think back.
What are your Christmas decorations like? Do you enjoy Christmas decorating?
When I was a child we were not allowed to listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas movies or television shows until after Thanksgiving. I looked forward to Christmas in every way. I looked forward to the lights, snow, days off school, lights, Santa Claus, trains (I’ll explain that), family get togethers, and -did I say- lights and so much more.
When I was a child I remember setting up Christmas lights with my dad. I think it was every year from the time I was in first grade up until I was in sixth or the seventh grade we would set up Christmas lights the weekend after Thanksgiving. It seems that the day after Thanksgiving we would clean up from the family get together and then maybe set up some indoor Christmas decorations. We could not set up the the Christmas tree at that time, we had to wait on that. We would set up the Nativity scene on the mantel and we would string lights along the mantle as well. We would set up various other Christmas decorations around the house. I think I loved the colors of Christmas, but I loved the many colors on the lights. It seems that usually the Saturday after Thanksgiving we would hang Christmas lights all over the exterior of the house. We had a two story and my dad would use the extension ladder as we would hang lights on the top of the house as well. We had a blue spruce tree and we hung lights on there also. It was great getting the lights out of the garage attic plugging them in and watching them light up, or we hoped they would light up. Many times they wouldn’t light up. My dad could fix anything and so many times he would replace the fuses and rewire things and make them work. We stood there in the cold and watched as he did all the work! We did hold the ladder. We used the big lights, not the little lights, but they sure could blow fuses. At night it was so nice to go outside and see the house lit up. In the next few weeks we would set up the Christmas tree. The tree had snowflake lights and these bubble lights that were supposed to resemble candles. We hung so many lights on the tree, I’m sure many of you would have thought it was too cluttered. In the coming weeks we would drive around and look at Christmas lights. Sometimes we were on our way home from cub scouts or some school event and we would just drive around for awhile.
We had an old train that was probably from the 1930’s, it was a Lionel Train and we would set it up under the Christmas Tree and I remember sitting in that room with the lights off except for the tree and letting the train go around the tracks. The Train had a light on the front and the cars lit up inside.
I wonder if you have memories like this?
Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpk9Fk6sR3g
Pictures and videos of Christmas lights displays.
Today, we begin our Advent theme which is Jesus is the Light. In this year’s Advent theme I intend to show you how Jesus was prophesied in the old Testament and these prophesies are fulfilled in the New Testament. I intend to show you that Jesus is the Light of the world and as people engaged Him they had enlightening experiences. You know, Jesus calls us the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14) So, let’s open our Bibles and see the very first prophesy about God providing the Light. That is my title today and that is the great idea:
God Provides the Light.
The applications are:
- Have we trusted in the light of the world?
- Are we encouraged that the whole Bible talks of God sending the light?
- Notice God provides the light, salvation is of God.
- Can we rejoice in our salvation? (Psalm 51:12)
Let’s look at a few passages about how God provides the light. Let’s start with:
- Let’s turn in the first book of the Bible and look at: Gen. 3:15:
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
- Take note, this passage is written right after the first recorded sin. I don’t know how many years before Christ came to earth this was written, but I would think about 4,000 years and just days, weeks or months into creation. Adam and Eve had the reign of the Garden of Eden and walked with God. Then, the devil came and tempted them. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Take note that there is spiritual warfare and we see it in this passage. The devil comes all innocent and disguises himself as a snake. Next thing we know they are disobeying God.
- Now, in verse 15 God is giving the punishment for satan and for Adam and Eve.
- In the middle of the punishment is this prophesy.
- Enmity: this means that there will be a barrier between the devil and Eve and her off spring and the devils. It would be easy to think this is simply talking about a fear between man and snake, but historically that is not how it was interpreted.
- Luther commented on the nature of “the woman’s Seed”: “This means all individuals in general; and yet he is speaking of only one individual, of the seed of Mary, who is a mother without union with a male” (LW 1.195).1
- One writes: The “offspring” of the woman was Cain, then all humanity at large, and then Christ and those collectively in Him. The “offspring” of the serpent includes demons and anyone serving his kingdom of darkness, those whose “father” is the devil (John 8:44). Satan would cripple mankind (you will strike at his heel), but the Seed, Christ, would deliver the fatal blow (He will crush your head).
- Another writes: The serpent’s poison is lodged in its head; and a bruise on that part is fatal. Thus, fatal shall be the stroke which Satan shall receive from Christ, though it is probable he did not at first understand the nature and extent of his doom.2
- Here we have the common case where an individual represents many.204 Eve and her adversary are the progenitors of a lifelong struggle that will persist until a climactic moment when the woman’s offspring will achieve the upper hand.3
- Now think about this verse and our applications. Notice that salvation comes from the Lord.
- Here we are in the beginning of time. Here we are and man and woman have just sinned, they have broken God’s perfect standard. But God is saying, “I am going to bring you back.” God is saying, “There is a punishment, but I will send the light.”
- The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) The Bible says that God wants all to come to salvation. (2 Peter 3:9)
- All throughout the Old Testament God reminds them of the Light that will come. God reminds them of the Light of the world. God continues to talk about the birth of Jesus.
- Isaiah 7:14:
- “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
- Isaiah was written some 700 years prior to Christ and God is reminding the people that He will provide the Light.
- Notice that the whole Bible talks of God sending the Light, sending Jesus. Isn’t that encouraging? Do you have the Light? Do you have joy in your salvation, Psalm 51:12?
- Listen to Isaiah 60:1 and 19-20:
- Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
- Isaiah 60:19-20:
- The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.
- These verses are about a time still to look forward to. But notice, who provides the light? God will provide the light.
- Is it possible?
- On March 9, 1979, nine satellites stationed at various points in the solar system simultaneously recorded a bizarre event deep in space. It was, in fact, the most powerful burst of energy ever recorded. Astronomers who studied the readings were in awe.
The burst of gamma radiation lasted for only one-tenth of a second . . . but in that instant it emitted as much energy as the sun does in 3000 years. If the gamma-ray burst had occurred in the Milky Way Galaxy, said one astrophysicist, it would have set our entire atmosphere aglow. If the sun had suddenly emitted the same amount of energy, our earth would have vaporized. Instantly.
Let’s look at the New Testament:
- In Matt. 1:23 Joseph is having a dream and this is what the angel says: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). This is the fulfillment of that prophesy way back in Genesis 3:15.
- In Luke 3:29-32 Jesus as a baby was seen by a man named Simeon and this is what he says:
- “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.
- One more Bible passage which shows a more direct fulfillment of that prophesy is Gal. 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.
- Notice how this passage says, “born of a woman” and that is alluding to Genesis 3:15: the seed or “offspring” of a woman…
2 Cor. 4:4, 6 says:
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
As Christ followers, we look forward to a time when God provides all the light we need:
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Interesting, I remember buying Meagan an engagement ring and it sparkled and just looked amazing. But that is because of the light reflecting off of the diamond. Light makes things beautiful and amazing.
When we read about the images of Heaven and the New Jerusalem everything appears magnificent, but it would not appear that way in the dark, it does because God will dwell with us and be the Light.
God prophesied in Genesis 3:15 that He will provide the light and that happened through Jesus. That is not all the Light God provides. As Christ followers we have the light of Jesus with us all the time through the Holy Spirit and some day He will dwell with us.
[The Passion of the Christ with Jesus stepping on the snake, maybe silent only.]
This past year we took Mercedes out to see Christmas lights and she loved them, absolutely loved them! There is a mansion in Salem with lights all over the yard and just more lit up than anyone could imagine. Mercedes would say, “I want to go play in it!” Remember she was two then. When we think about the light, we remember that Jesus is the light from God. God loves us so much that from the very beginning God revealed to us that He would make a way of salvation.
We will continue with this theme of how God provides the Light and Jesus is the Light. We will be talking about this the next few weeks as we consider the prophesies of old fulfilled in Jesus.
Have we trusted in the light of the world?
Are we encouraged that the whole Bible talks of God sending the light?
Notice God provides the light, salvation is of God.
Can we rejoice in our salvation? (Psalm 51:12)
Do you have the Light? Do you know Jesus?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
W W Luther’s Works. Lectures on Genesis, ed. J. Pelikan and D. Poellot, trans. G. Schick
1 K. A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:26, vol. 1A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996).
2 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 19.
4 04 In 1 Tim 2:15 Eve’s role as childbearer is taken as an archetype in Paul’s reference to the Christian women at Ephesus.
3 K. A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:26, vol. 1A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 245.