The Test of Love

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Christ’s Light Shines in the Dark Places


Jesus’s disciple John was a pastor to seven churches in the late first century. His congregations were much like our own except they spoke Greek instead of English and wore sandals instead of sneakers. In the essential things they were like us—they got up in the morning and went to bed at night; they had jobs and lived with families, had good days and bad days.


They were also like us in that they believed in Jesus Christ and experienced themselves as saved—freed from sin and free for God. They met together to grow in that deep and wide life. They sang songs of praise, offered prayers together, encouraged one another.


In the middle of all that, some important people got the idea that these Christians were dangerous and mounted a campaign to stamp them out. One day Roman soldiers came and took old John away from his churches and put him in exile on the island Patmos, though he had no sword, no army. All he did was teach his people to pray, lead them in worship, teach them songs and Scripture, and train them to live honestly with compassion and fairness.


One Sunday John was praying and received a vision of Jesus Christ doing his work of love and salvation in the midst of all this angry, fearful hostility. He wrote down what he saw and heard and then smuggled it onto the mainland. The scroll got into the right hands and was passed from church to church.


John said that Christ, the light of the world, is standing in our midst. Christ’s brilliance shows us just what we are—it probes into all the dark places in our lives and brings everything into the daylight. The light of our Lord first provides a diagnosis, but after it provides the diagnosis, it becomes a healing presence.


Early in the scroll were individualized messages to each of the seven churches. In this series, we will look at the first letter to the Christians at Ephesus, submitting ourselves to similar examination.


Heavenly Father, we invite the light of Christ to probe our lives, expose our failings, and heal our sickness.