What does rejection have to do with light?
This Sunday, we’ll celebrate Epiphany (it’s actually Epiphany Eve as Epiphany occurs on January 6 just like Christmas is always celebrated on December 25).
In traditional Christian worship, we talk about the Epiphany as the manifestation of God to the Gentiles using the celebration of the magi (non-Jews) arriving to worship the Christ child. The theme of light is very important during the season after the Epiphany.
Identifying Christ with light is a theological theme and nowhere is there a more overtly theological gospel than John. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) but later, John writes that Jesus is the true light of the world (John 1:9).
As the early church began to define Jesus, we start in Mark’s Gospel with the baptism of Jesus. Luke and Matthew are written using Mark as a template but seem to say that Mark didn’t start early enough and so they both give us stories of his birth. Written last, John states that in order to really define Jesus, you must go back to creation itself. We see that Jesus is the Word – present as God in the very beginning.
This is key in our doctrine of the Trinity that states that Jesus is a part of the Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But as John gives us these great themes of light and Word, why would he mention the rejection of Jesus by his hometown in Nazareth in the very beginning of his Good News? What does rejection have to do with light?
In the liturgical calendar, the second Sunday after Christmas includes John 1:1-18 that contain these themes. This Sunday, if you are in Piedmont or Cashion, I invite you to come and hear this scripture and the sermon meditation, “His Own People Didn’t Accept Him”. If you are outside the area, you can catch the sermon online next week – I’ll post a link in the comments section of this blog post.
In the meantime, may the light of Christ shine on you and through you this week as we close out one year and begin another!
The "epiphany" picture is from Flickr commons and was posted by djwtwo.