The Light of Epiphany • “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (v. 1). • Celebrating Christmas: our light has come through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. • Now, it’s up to us to decide whether or not to arise and praise the Lord, or to remain in our own darkness. • If we want to be spiritually alive, we must decide to live in the spiritual light of God. • God gives us two direct commands through Isaiah, “Arise and shine.”
Arise • The first command is “Arise!” • Some of you might be feeling down and out this morning because you have been so weary and burdened to carry out worries and sufferings in life. To those, God says, “Arise!” • “Arise, take up your bed, and go home.” And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of the crowds, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mk. 2:1-12).
As a Body, as a community of faith, we are also told to “Arise!” • The greatest challenge in the Church today is comfort as we only focus on fellowship within our circle. • Yet Jesus Christ commands us all to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mk. 16:15).” • “These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well (Mk. 16:17-18). • “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, [arise,] and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So the man jumped to his feet and began to walk, and he entered the temple courts, walking and jumping and praising God. (Acts. 3:1-10). • Christ our Savior has risen from the dead that you and I might arise, arise from our own graves, our own beds, our illness, our own comfort zones. • We should also use and exercise the power and authority of the Gospel that we can lead others out of their darkness into the light of God’s salvation.
Shine • The second command is “Shine!” • “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Eph. 5:14). • The stained glass in any old cathedrals. When the sun shines through it, you get the full color effect. • We must be like that glass; we must arise before Christ allow him to shine through us.
What is the light Jesus gives us and we shine on in the world? • It is the glory of the Lord, and the Lord has pierced the thick darkness in the world. • “In [Christ] was life, and life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it… We have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father’s only Son full of grace and truth…” (Jn. 1:4-5, 14). • It is the light of Christ, the gift of forgiveness, and the gift of eternal life. • In the light of Jesus Christ, we are healed, we are forgiven, we are reconciled with God, and we are promised to inherit God’s kingdom.
How to shine Christ? • It is now our duty and privilege to let this light shine out in our lives. • The light will pull other people to us, like a moth is drawn to a flame. • How can we shine the light of Christ? More programs? Or More God (light)? • We must share Jesus with others by our witness, and by the way we live in light of good.
Be radiant • In this Epiphany season, • 1) let’s bask in the Light of Jesus’ love for us! • 2) let’s allow Him to enlighten us anew with His Word and Spirit. • 3) let’s trust Him even more to be our Light! • And through doing this, we will be empowered to arise and shine the light of Christ that we may draw those who are still living in darkness to God’s salvation. • People of Worcester United Methodist Church, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you! • Be Radiant and allow God’s light to shine on all those around us!