The Light of the World
December 18. 2005
INTRODUCTION: U.S. News ran a story entitled, "Who Was Jesus?"
"He walked out of the Judean desert nearly 2,000 years ago, an unknown itinerant preacher, proclaiming to all who would listen that the Kingdom of God was at hand. It was said that He was a healer and a gifted teacher who challenged conventional wisdom and spoke with authority and wit. In the villages and hillsides of Galilee, curious crowds would gather to witness His deeds and hear His teachings. Some followed Him, believing He was God's anointed One, while others dismissed Him as a pretender and a troublemaker. Less than three years after He began, He was arrested in Jerusalem and executed on a Roman cross. His death, and the testimony of His followers that He arose from the dead, would change the course of history.
The religion founded on His teachings counts nearly a third of the world's population as members, yet His words and deeds and the meaning of His life, death, and resurrection are subjects of intense debate and sometimes surprising interpretations. Many still ask the question of the ages: "Who is Jesus?"
The hymn writer said, "Come to the light, Tis shining for thee. Sweetly the light has dawned upon me. Once I was lost, but now I am found. The Light of the world is Jesus."
What a wonderful thing to realize that Jesus Christ, who is the full expression of God in human history, can come into our lives and give us light to see and to know God. His light, in fact, gives us life itself – spiritual life. And His light gives us purpose, meaning, happiness, peace, joy, fellowship, everything – for all eternity!
Now, as we turn our attention to a letter written to give these Jewish Christians who suffered rejection and persecution by fellow Jews what they mostly needed, encouragement and confidence in Christ.
Also addressed are the general unbelievers who were intellectually persuaded, but s ...
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