Feast of Tabernacles
Read: John 8:12, 1 John 1:5-7, and Matthew 5:14-16
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
1 John 1:5-7
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Sometimes words carry more weight because of the situation in which they’re spoken. A flippant comment will cut deeper when said in a boardroom full of executives. An encouraging word might mean more on the heels of a debilitating blow. A heartfelt compliment may bear more life during a season of insecurity than a season of ease.
We already know the significance of light regarding the Feast of Tabernacles. During the Illumination of the Temple ceremony, golden oil-fed candelabras were burned through the night. At 75-feet tall, it is said they illuminated the entire city. The light had two-fold symbolic remembrance: First, of God’s Shekinah glory that had once filled His Temple, and second, the remembrance of God’s presence in the pillar of fire that guided Israel in their wilderness journey. As well as symbolic remembrance, the light carried anticipatory symbolism. God had promised to send a savior, the Light, to a world darkened by sin.
Again, we shift to the Gospel of John. Jesus is standing in the Temple court at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles. With fire-laden torches stretching into the sky in rich symbolism, Jesus announces, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The situational impact of his message cannot be overlooked. God’s glory announced His presence in the Temple. Once in the form of a pillar of fire, God was now held in the flesh of Jesus himself!
What illuminates your life journey? Do you rely on cultural norms to guide your rights and wrongs? Do familial patterns and traditions serve as your compass? Feelings or emotions? Or do you look to Jesus? He is the only light that leads along right paths. His is the way of abundant life.