“Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.
Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.”
John 18:17-18, 25-27 NKJV
“Also He said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.””
Mark 4:21-23 NKJV
I like the evening hours. I often find myself sitting in my livingroom as the sun goes down. The light is pleasant, and soft, and there is a comfort in sitting quietly as the colors begin to fade to shades of gray. When the darkness is close to complete, I turn on my lamps and I can again see into my the room.
A spiritual darkness is coming, as dusk comes to the world. Unlike the comfort of the twilight, we are witnessing much of the disturbance, as our world is in great tumult. In the spiritual darkness, there is chaos and confusion, as people stumble about with no sense of what is natural, unnatural, correct or detrimental. We are as blind people, stubbing our toes and falling over the obstacles of sin cluttering the world.
The world needs light. The problem is turning on the light, has the potential to make one a target for those who love the darkness. I spent some time in the book of Mark this morning, as part of my reading, and I ran into the passage about the lamp under the basket. One turns on a lamp to light the room. If I were to cover all my lights in the living room, I might as well leave them off, as there would be no benefit. Light is meant to be seen.
As I read the passage, I thought of Peter. Jesus had been arrested and Peter had seen how He had been treated. I am sure that Peter feared that he would get the same kind of treatment. Earlier he had assured the Lord that he would be willing to fight and die for Jesus, but he was rebuked and told that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed.
I suspect that in coming days, Christians in this country will witness unprecedented encroachments on religious freedom. I could imagine churches having to close their doors, pastors arrested for “hate speech”, lawsuits, and tax exempt status’ revoked. I can also imagine many churches and individual Christians, cowering, covering their lamps as to not shine the offensive light of the Gospel.
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Revelation 2:10 NKJV
Sadly, some of us will be like Peter, denying the Lord, and turning from the presentation of the Gospel, as we seek safety. Rather than hide, this is a time to shine bright. One of the advantages we have is the truth of God’s word. I am convinced more each day as to the veracity of the claims of Jesus. I look at what is happening in this world, and I know that there is a God, and His Son is Jesus. I know that Jesus is Creator God, Elohim.
Because of that knowledge, I go boldly, come what may, to share the light of Jesus Christ as the sun goes down, and the shadows are growing longer. Going back to Peter, I remember his restoration by Jesus, and his being filled by the Holy Spirit. Instead of denying, he stood proclaiming, ultimately laying down his life.
“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:38 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, we will have fear. We also have a faith we can count on. There will be times when we may seek to hide to avoid persecution. This will be especially true for those with loved ones, with them in harms way.
Beloved, we have been given a bright light that leads those lost in darkness to safety. We must go and turn on the light.
““You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV
When I consider my salvation, I can’t help but think of the vast multitude of people, unknown, who gave their lives, willingly, so that the message of the Gospel could be delivered to me back on a Resurrection Sunday in 1998.
They knew nothing of the future, but they knew the faithfulness of God, the power of their testimony. Because of their sacrifice, I will know eternity in heaven with Jesus.
There is common, crimson thread linking me to the cross, as the torch of Christ was passed from person to person, bringing a bright light into the darkness of my soul. Let us continue to shine bright for the Gospel!
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