Section 1: The Light of the World
Think about this: 71 percent of our world is ocean. Though we have planes, trains, and automobiles now, life on the water has been commonplace for industry, trade, travel, and more. But navigation in ships has always been precarious. We can read ancient and contemporary stories of seasoned sailors scared stiff as squalls stir the sea, almost swamping ships. Shorelines, particularly in ancient times, served as a hazard when ships attempted to dock in conditions with poor visibility.
It’s not surprising, then, that for thousands of years attempts have been made to make seafaring safer. We know of lighthouses in Egypt that date back almost 2,300 years! In a 2019 article, the BBC went as far as to call the humble lighthouse, “the invention that saved a million ships.” Those shoreline-marking beacons have done their fair share in improving the safety of so many over the thousands of years they’ve been in use.
In today’s readings, we find a life-saving light that isn’t constructed with brick-and-mortar. Some of the earliest promises God makes in Scripture demonstrate this part of God’s design. In Genesis 12:2–3, He calls Abraham, saying “you will be a blessing…and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” From there, God establishes a great nation with a purpose stated in Isaiah 42: to act as “a covenant for the people and a light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6–7). The role of the nation of Israel was to point others toward the God who could bring them from darkness to light. Why? Because He wants the blind to see and those in darkness to see the light!
Did Abraham see this promise kept? Did God come through? Yes! And as believers, we are part of this legacy. Reflecting on the patriarch in his letter to the Romans, Paul writes: “He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was also able to do. Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness. Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:20–25).
His calling, the calling of the people of Israel, and our calling as believers, is to act as a reminder of the life-saving light found in Jesus. Praise God for a Savior who is the Light of the World, who calls and equips us to be a beacon of hope to everyone, everywhere, no matter how big or dark our world seems.