The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night;
but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
20 Your sun shall no more go down, or your moon withdraw itself;
for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.
Here God’s invitation is to look to the Lord and the Lord only for light. God offers light that provides direction during the day and comfort at night. When we lean into the light that Jesus offers in himself, we can reflect his light to others as we invite them to encounter the everlasting light.
- Where are you experiencing darkness in your life right now?
- What do you need to lift up to God today, that you might experience his guidance and comfort?
- How are you living as a reflection of God’s light to the people around you?
Gracious God, thank you for the assurance of your presence that brings light into the darkness of our lives and surroundings. We lean into your guidance and your comfort, knowing that you are eternal and your promise of light is extended to us all day and all night. Help us to receive your light, which we so desperately need, and then to reflect it to others for your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 John 1:1-4
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— 3 we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
As we begin to walk our way through John’s first letter to his beloved readers, he establishes his “credentials” for declaring what he is about to say. His letter is a testimony, based on his eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ work and words. As Jesus’ followers, we too have stories of His faithfulness that are based on our experiences and are worth sharing.
- When have you experienced an encounter with Jesus?
- What was unexpected about it? What emotions did it stir in you?
- How would it feel to share that encounter with someone else?
Gracious God, thank you for the many ways you reveal yourself to us. Help us to enter into those moments and cultivate awareness of your presence and hear your voice. May our stories be peppered with the stories of how you came to us and made us new and may we be filled with joy in remembering your faithfulness to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 John 1:5-7
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
John, who spent time with Jesus, sums up the gospel message in vs. 5 – God is light and in God there is no darkness at all. There are echoes of his words in the first chapter of his gospel, this theme of light that always overcomes. Over the next verses, John starts to unpack the contrast between living in light versus living in darkness.
- What words or phrases does John use to describe darkness?
- What words or phrases does John use to describe light?
- How is John’s description of light also a description of God?
Gracious God, thank you that you are light and invite us to live in the light with you. We acknowledge that it requires a surrender to your loving ways, illumined by your presence, and we confess our tendency to stumble around in the darkness denial and deception. We need you and ask that you will help us to come to the light of your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 John 1:8-10
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
As John continues, he points out to his readers that part of living in the dark is thinking we are actually living in the light. How easy it can be to use our own spirituality as a frame of reference for light. But our goal is not to deem ourselves as sinless but to live in a posture of dependence on Jesus for forgiveness and transformation.
- What comes to mind as you ponder these words?
- What would it look like to maintain a posture of receiving Jesus’ forgiveness and transformation daily?
- How would a posture of dependence on God to remain in the light through confession and surrender impact your relationships with others?
Gracious God, you fill me with your light, not because I am perfect, but because I am honest and vulnerable with you. Give me the humility to acknowledge my dependence on you for forgiveness and gracious transformation so that my relationships with others reflect that same character. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 John 2:1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
John demonstrates an understanding of our nature, one that desires not to sin but at the same time can’t help it. He talks about the “now and the not yet” in a future passage. His words assure us of forgiveness for the past, mercy for the present and hope for the future.
- How do you hold your desire to not sin and your tendency toward sin at the same time?
- What do you hear God saying in the midst of this reality?
- Who in your life needs to hear that in Christ we have an advocate, one who pleads our case and lays down his life for our forgiveness?
Gracious God, thank you for being present with us in the space between the “now and the not yet.” We need your forgiveness and mercy to live for you in this world. Help us to receive the reality of our state, and the greater reality of your reconciling work and forgiveness, and to live among others in the light of your mercy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.