This is the second week of our Lenten series on the Seven I AM statements of Jesus. Each blog post this week will focus on Jesus as the Light of the World.
What does THE DRESS have to do with Jesus?
By: Amy Dalke
So…this dress thing.
You’ve seen it everywhere. You may have yelled at someone because the colors they saw were different than what you see. And…maybe by now, you’re just tired of the conversation altogether and wish people would quit talking about it.
(Sorry.) Blame it on our pastor, who brought The Dress up as a sermon illustration. Pastor Ben showed us a picture of the dress, and described how the colors we see are affected by the quantity and the quality of the light through which we see them.
And he’s right, based on a NY Times article quoting Dr. Duje Tadin, an associate professor at the University of Rochester who surmised The Dress controversy this way: “This clearly has to do with individual differences in how we perceive the world.”*
Interesting and all, but what does this have to do with Jesus?
Hold on, and I’ll tell you.
First, let’s talk about the Feast of Tabernacles. This was a seven day feast, celebrated annually in Jerusalem, as a remembrance of God’s faithful provision for the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the desert.
During the feast, there was a ceremony held in the temple, where four huge candelabras were lit to represent the Lord’s presence with the Israelites in the pillar of cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night. These gigantic lamps were mounted on huge poles, and young men would climb up on ladders to light them with oil.
(Neither of these are great images, but you get the drift…)
The Gospel of John tells about a time that Jesus attended one of these Feasts. At some point, either during or immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood in the temple where these huge torches blazed bright, and boldly proclaimed:
“I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
The people of Israel had followed the Lord’s constant presence in the pillars of cloud and fire, and now here’s Jesus, claiming that those who follow him will never walk in darkness.
Jesus is the Light of God’s glorious presence.
This world is full of a rebellious darkness that lies behind all our sin; creeps around corners; and hides the truth so that unbelief will keep us from the joy of true Life.
Although every human being was built to reflect Jesus’ light, we are prone to get caught up in darkness. Those who are stuck in the pit of sin see life through varying shades of darkness, and the darkness of unbelief keeps them from living in the light of truth.
But the Light won’t be overcome by darkness.
The very Glory Light of God dwells within us through the Holy Spirit, and we are sent to shine this Jesus-light into a world that needs to know the hope of his glory.
So, about The Dress…
As Jesus-believers, we view situations and events through the light of truth. And people won’t always see the same colors we see. Yelling at those who see colors differently isn’t a winning prospect for so many reasons; and it’s a rare occasion that you’ll convince someone to change their mind by shouting at them. (Hence the emphatic stances taken over the color of The Dress.)
What if, instead of shaking the light in their face with a pointy finger, we allow the light to speak for itself through the way we live?
What if the glorious presence of God so overtakes our soul-space that his Light overtakes Darkness everywhere we go?
So basically this:
1) Don’t argue with people over The Dress (or over any other point by which they see the world in a different color).
2) The entire word of God is awesome, because it all points to Jesus. All that stuff in the Old Testament…from the very first word about God separating light from darkness and calling the light good. It all points to Jesus. He really is the Beginning and End, and all the stuff in between.
3) Your life was made to spill light all over the place. So was mine. Let’s do this thing.
And now you should get This Little Light of Mine stuck in your head all day long. (You’re welcome.)
*quote taken from this article: A Simple Question About a Dress…(NY Times Article)