Lighting the Candle
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you… And giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:9, 12-14
The universe shifted the moment that Jesus was born, shifted toward the reality of God’s light shattering the darkness. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). But the mention of the “dominion of darkness” in today’s text does underscore the tragic reality of a cosmic adversary in our world. There is sin, ignorance, sorrow, and death still at work. God’s first creative act was to bring forth the light and to separate it from the darkness: “Let there be light”. Now God’s new creative act is to shine the light of Christ into broken lives, and pierce the powers of darkness.
In today’s text the Apostle Paul is joyously thanking God as He “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness”. What we were unable to do for ourselves God has done for us. He literally rescued us by coming into our darkness, and drawing us to Himself.
The darkness hung heavy over the Cross that day. For three hours the sun refused to shine as a black darkness covered the land. For three hours Jesus was forsaken by the Father. For three hours the forces of darkness raged against the light. But even then the darkness did not overcome the light. Three days later the dark tomb was overwhelmed by the light and life of our resurrected Lord.
In this Jesus rescued us from the dark kingdom and made us “to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light”. Our Scripture text calls what Jesus did for us, “redemption”. In New Testament times, “redemption” was the word used for freeing a slave. Redemption involved a purchase price and a setting free. Our redemption in Christ means that Jesus paid the full price to set us free, to liberate us from slavery to sin and death. Neither sin nor death will have the last word.
For the Apostle Paul, redemption above all means forgiveness: “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin”. What we need the most, God gives us through our redemption in Christ. That means that we start each day with a fresh, clean slate. All of yesterday’s sins and falling short are behind us. This is God’s new day.
The Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger was here on a mission. The angel instructed Joseph: “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Through this Jesus, God “has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light”.
Think about it! Qualified for heaven!
MOMENT OF SILENCE AND REFLECTION
Loving God, we give you joyful thanks that through Jesus Christ you have qualified us for your kingdom, and qualified us for heaven. What we could never do for ourselves, you have done for us in Christ. As we start today with a fresh, clean slate, so we give to others a fresh clean slate for the day. Amen.