Christmas Eve 2019 - Jesus Is the Sunrise

Jesus is the Sunrise
(Christmas Eve Message)

Scripture reading:

    And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; 
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 
    77     to give knowledge of salvation to his people 
in the forgiveness of their sins, 
    78     because of the tender mercy of our God, 
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 
    79     to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” 1

In verse 78 Zechariah prophesies that the mercy of God would be made known by a “sunrise” visiting us. This sunrise is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus came, mercy came. When Jesus came, the sun rose upon a dark world. When Jesus came, the light shone. This is why we celebrate his birth as we are doing this very evening.

This past Sunday we spoke about what it means for the light of Jesus to shine upon us.

* It means that both mercy and peace have come. 
* It means that ignorance of God’s will no longer needs to remain. 
* It means that a new heart is made available. You can have a new heart!

Tonight, I wish to briefly look at one more gift that comes with the sunrise. It is this: when the light comes, life comes. The light that is Christ, besides dispelling ignorance of God and besides exposing sin, brings with it life! Unlike light in the physical world, which can only illuminate, the light from above brings life with it.

If one loves the light then that person is counted among the number that receives this life. Sadly, there are many that hate the light (John 3:19-20).

Do you love the light? If you do then life is yours!

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.2

The world walked in darkness before Christ came. People still walk in darkness whenever anyone either rejects or ignores the light. But the world’s problem is bigger than darkness. It is death.

Eternal death is the sentence of every person because every person has sinned. Eternal death means that when a person physically dies, they then will die – be separated from God – forever. The sunrise will bring eternal life to those who love the light.

There are three kinds of death that the Scriptures speak of. There is physical death. We are all familiar with that. There is eternal death, which we just defined. But there is also spiritual death in the present. That is, our human spirits have no life. We are all born spiritually dead.

When the sunrise came it was not only eternal death that was overcome, but the deadness that we have in this life is scattered and life is breathed into us!

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 3

Do you see the qualification? Do you see it? Not everyone received the light of life. It is those who follow Jesus. When you follow Jesus you will no longer walk in darkness but you will have life in the here and now.

This means that we can receive the light and then, by not actually following him, we can slip back into darkness. Our great need is life. Not only eternal life. We need life today. 

Christmas is the story of the light coming and bringing life with it. This Christmas Eve receive the light once again. Don’t just say, “I believe.” Follow him today. Throw away the earthly concerns, the earthly desires. Turn to Christ anew, even if you have done so before. Turn to him afresh and receive life! Tonight is the night for that.

Pray with me.

“Lord Jesus, I need more life. You came as the sunrise to bring life. I give myself to you tonight afresh. I choose to really follow you. I may have done it before. But, my desire is to live for you in a higher way. As I follow you now may you dispel all my darkness and breathe more of your life into me. I ask this in your precious name. Amen.”
1 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 1:76–79). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
2 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 1:4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
3 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 8:12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.