Part 1 – You are Enlightened
The Edge Network had our monthly Vision Sunday this weekend at which our two congregations and various teams come together. We are looking at five identities that is ours in Christ. This time it was ‘we are the light of God’.
It is important for Christians humbly to acknowledge that we don’t know everything. People often perceive Christians as arrogant know-it-alls so it’s important to affirm that we are learners. However, it defines us in terms of what is lacking. It says we are people who lack knowledge.
But the New Testament talks about our identity to emphasis what we have – not what we lack. Now that’s not arrogant because it is about the identity that God has given us … by grace … in Christ.
So it is true that we are people who lack knowledge. God is way beyond our understanding. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. It is true that we are learners.
But it is also true that we have knowledge. We are enlightened. We are illuminated.
We have God’s word. God’s word is described as a lamp. It gives us light.
We have God’s people. God’s people, as we shall see, are called a light to the nations.
We have God’s Spirit. The Spirit illuminates our hearts, reveals the truth to us, opens our eyes.
We have God’s Son. ‘I am the light of the world,’ he said. ‘The one who is the true light,’ says John, ‘who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.’ (John 1:9)
So if you are a Christian then God’s Spirit has opened your eyes to see in God’s word and in God’s Son the truth about God. You are enlightened. You know the truth. You know God.
In between the disciples not ‘seeing’ who Jesus is and the disciples confessing that he is the Christ, Mark places this story:
When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”
The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”
Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25)
The point is clear: Jesus gives us sight or insight.
You may not have done well at school. You may not think of yourself as clever. You may not have passed exams or gained qualifications. You may not be articulate.
But you are enlightened. You are have light. You have the truth – the truth that matters.
You know more than people with PhDs, professors, writers, scientists, psychiatrists and psychologists. You know more about God, more about hope, more about human nature, more about the future. Really, you do. Don’t be intimidated. These people have learnt lots for reading what people have written and hearing what people have said. But you have been taught by God himself! You know the truth and you know the One who is Truth. You know ‘Truth’ (capital ‘T’).
And so you have a story to tell that the world needs to hear.
Which leads on to my main point …