This year Christmas is different. The place where Jesus was born in Bethlehem is not as lively as before because of the war in Gaza Palestine between Hamas & Israel. The place where Jesus grew up, lived, ministered to others in Israel and Palestine are now having war. This Christmas season suppose to be celebration of Jesus Christ birth with many tourist pilgrims going to Israel & Bethlehem. But now with the war ongoing, is not possible. Do the people living in Israel and Palestine know Jesus? Do they believe He is God, son of God? Even though Christianity originates from Israel yet majority of Israelis don’t believe in Jesus. Israel most of them are Jews. Palestine most of them are Muslim. They don’t believe Jesus is God. They don’t know the real meaning of Christmas.
Today, I am going to share why it is important for them and people around the world to know who Jesus is. The significance of Christmas. Christmas is about Peace, Love, Joy. God wants you to have peace, love and joy not hatred, not war, not death, not darkness. He wants you to have light.
Do you believe in prophecy? Jews, Muslim, Christian believe in prophecy. But the Jews, Muslim didn’t realize that what was prophesy many years ago by the prophets were fulfilled with Jesus Christ birth & life while in this earth. The Bible is a living prophecy of many things that was said by many prophets and come to be true. One of the prophet is Isaiah. He prophesy of Jesus birth. He said in Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
This prophecy was fulfilled with Jesus birth at night when it was dark in Luke 2:8-12. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
From these verses, we know that Jesus birth was at night during watch night where shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks from predators. Jesus birth was not during the day light. Have you ever wonder why Jesus birth was not during day time? Why at night? Is because God wants us to remember His birth, He is the Light in Darkness. He came to become Savior for the world. That night the glory of His light shine brightly with the angels appearance to the shepherds telling them of His birth & there was shining bright light star guiding them in the darkness leading them to where Jesus birth location was in a manger.
Now let’s look at Why is Jesus name call Jesus? What’s the significance? Jesus means Savior saving people from their sins. God had sent an angel to appear in Joseph dream telling him to accept Mary’s baby and name him Jesus in Matthew 1:20-21 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”.
In difficult tough times full of darkness where the people were suffering, God sent his son Jesus to come down as a baby, growing up to become man to experience the hardship, pain, suffering with His people. He is with us. He is Immanuel meaning God with us.
With Jesus present in earth as God & human, many Jews still didn’t believe that He is the Messiah to save them from their sins. They say Messiah hasn’t come yet. Some of the Jews thought that Jesus come from Galilee in John 7:41. But actually Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea. Let’s look at the map.
Bethlehem is actually far from Galilee. The reason why some of the Jews thought Jesus came from Galilee is because he grew up in Nazareth in Galilee and his ministry started from Galilee. He began teaching the Gospel in Galilee. Prophet Isaiah had prophesy about Jesus going to Galilee and people knowing about the light in darkness which is Jesus. This is in Matthew 4:12–16 12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
As Jesus went to Galilee to preach to the Gentiles, the Jews didn’t like it as they didn’t like Gentiles back then. Galilee population most of them were Gentiles, minority were Jews. As a result, they didn’t believe Jesus is a prophet & Messiah as they didn’t want to associate with Gentiles even though what was prophesy by Isaiah have come true.
Today, still many Jews don’t believe in Jesus Christ although now Jews accept Gentiles. The Muslim also don’t believe Jesus is son of God. Even though Jesus is a living proof of God presence yet they rejected Him. There were many miracles healing and many miraculous things Jesus did but they still don’t believe in Him. They reject God. Jesus prophesy many things. He also prophesy about wars, famines, earthquake in Matthew 24:6-8 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Look at what’s happening now around the world. There are many problems in the world. Israel & Hamas Gazaa war. Russia & Ukraine war. Global warming, drought, flooding, earthquake, children abuse, depression, human trafficking slavery and many more. All these happen because of sins, darkness. Many people don’t believe they have any sins. They believe what they do is right. Some of them may claim they believe in God yet they say they have no sins but actually they are sinning. The Bible says in 1 John 1:5-10 5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Are you one of these people who claim you have not sin and today you realize that you are sinning before God? Repent and seek God for forgiveness. Turn away from sins, darkness. Make things right. Don’t do evil. Be in the light and walk in the light.
Are you one of the victims, people who have suffer because of others sins or sudden unforeseen circumstances like death? Are you thinking of leaving God because you have lost your loved ones? You are thinking is there really God? Why didn’t God save, help my loved ones? Why is God not answering my prayers?
Before I become Christian, I asked a lot of Why questions about God. I questioned about God. Why did He took away so many of what I have? I even asked a pastor when I was visiting church. He couldn’t answer me. I was disappointed with the pastor as he didn’t understand my situation. But God knows, he understand what I have gone through and comfort me. Today, I am now Christian. Have become Christian for over 9 years now. God still take away some things from me. Do I blame God? Do I keep asking God Why? Do I leave God? No. I don’t. I do cry out to God over my problems. Keep praying to Him. There is no anger with God. I don’t hate God. I still love Him dearly for He is my creator, my God who created me, gives me my family and friends and everything I have. He has plan everything for me. My life is in His hand. He is with me all the time. He keeps reminding me about His presence with His word, His people, His creation, His blessings. Why will I want to abandon my faith? No. The evil dark forces want God’s people to leave him. He whisper words of doubt, questioning to people. Don’t fall into Satan trap. Don’t fall into his pit.
If you have lost someone you love recently. Listen to this. God knows when his people passed away & he made plans what to do for the left behind. See Moses example when Moses died, God spoke to Joshua what to do in leading his people the Israelites to go where to the promise land. He made his promise to Moses to give them the promise land & he promised to be with them always. This is found in Joshua 1:1-9.
1After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
God provide comfort, encouragement to Joshua and his people when Moses passed away. He spoke to Joshua and reassures him with many promises. God protects his people. He is always with his people. If you are Christian who believe in God, you are under His protection. Do not dismay. Let me share with you that Moses is still alive after his death. God buried Moses body personally and He brought Moses spirit to be with Him in heaven. This can be found in Deuteronomy 34:5-6 about God burying Moses personally, no one knows where is the grave. And in Matthew 17:3 Moses appeared together with Jesus and prophet Elijah. So this shows that Moses is still alive after his death. Look to the bright side, those with believe in God still live even though they die. For Jesus have overcome death and died at the cross for our sins. We have a place in heaven. So cheer up. Be representative of God’s light.
God’s light in us when we are in presence with God. Our face reflect his radiant. Moses when he met God and talk to Him, his face was radiant. So bright that he had to wear a veil. This is in Exodus 34:29-35. Have you have Christian friends telling you they can see the glow in some Christian? Christian who are cheerful, bright, positive, encouraging others. They have the smile, glow in them bringing cheer, joy to their surrounding. This is the light of Christ. The glow in them. I have seen some of my friends having that. I hope I am also reflecting his Light to others. One of the things God show me of His presence is His constant bright light I keep seeing with my eyes. Is very glaring. I have seen eye specialists and even told one of my friend who is an eye specialist about it about my eyes condition seeing bright light. They told me probably is due to my dry eyes and long hours seeing the monitor screen. I have been using eye drops for my dry eyes for many years but I still keep seeing bright glaring light. I don’t think is my dry eyes problem or the long hours of laptop monitor screen usage problem that cause my glaring. Even now, when I am preparing for this sermon. I am having glaring light. I started preparing the sermon with no glaring of light to glaring of light while working on this sermon. I think is God reminding me of His light and presence. Wanting me to tell others about him more. I didn’t do as much as what He wants me to. Have being praying to God to heal my eyes, remove the bright glaring. Sometimes, he will remove. Sometimes, he don’t. His constant reminder of His light.
I like to share with you why am I preaching on Light in Darkness with my incidents that happened a few months ago in September and October 2023. In September, I met an Isreali for my 2nd round interview when he was in Singapore at his hotel. The interview went well and I got the job offer on the spot. I was happy to be able to work with Jews for an Israel company. Able to find out more about Jews and learn more about their faith. During the interview, my boss knowing I am Christian asked me what is Trinity. I explained to him. I was glad to be able to share about Christianity with him. I was looking forward to start work and have more opportunities to share about God with him and new colleagues. However on the 1st day of work on 25 September 2023, things didn’t turn out well. My boss left a laptop and printer for me to collect at the hotel lobby which he stayed in when he was in Singapore. I went that day to collect and surprised to see the hotel has no electricity that day. One of the hotel staff passed me a torchlight when I told her I need to go to the toilet. She told me electricity breakdown when she passed me the torchlight and said the toilet is dark. When I walked to the toilet which is near the lobby. Is complete darkness at the pathway & inside the toilet. Had to turn on the torchlight to have light to see. Is in total darkness. The toilet flash was not working. The tap was not working. 1st time in Singapore, I experienced no electricity in a hotel right in town. Very surprised. I wonder how the guest felt when they experience this. What is unique, is that while on my way to the hotel, I was thinking of getting some torchlight and look online to see what to buy. So when I arrived at the hotel and see this hotel right in town area no electricity, in darkness and the staff passed me a torchlight, I felt God leading me to experience this. The Holy Spirit let me think of getting torchlight and God planned for the hotel not to have electricity and let me experience darkness and light in darkness. He reminds me to be light in darkness. Reaching out to the lost.
The experience don’t just stop there. When I got the Microsoft Surface Pro laptop and printer back home as I worked from home. The laptop when I turned on, I couldn’t access. Is locked. I told my boss about it. He contacted my predecessor to try to get the password but the predecessor said he used his face to lock the laptop and forget the password. I tried to Google to find a way to unlock but to no avail. My boss got his IT guy to help but he also couldn’t do anything about it as he couldn’t remote access the laptop. I managed to find Microsoft Singapore support telephone number and tried calling it. Was told get an external USB C thumb drive to download and copy some files to it to install but I don’t have USB C thumb drive. The other option she told me was to go to Challenger Millenia Walk Microsoft Surface Pro support staff there to reset the laptop and reinstall Windows. I decided to go to Challenger. I spent a few days trying to access the laptop. Is a lot of waste of time all because my predecessor didn’t remove the facial password and couldn’t remember the password. Things were not smooth right from the start of work.
Over the next few days of work, I felt more and more that this job is not suitable. I feel like leaving. I told my boss on the 2nd week, I am quitting and he said he will think about it and get back to me. Finally, he accepted my resignation and I asked if I can leave immediately on 6 October 2023. He accepted.
I thought all is going to be well after my resignation. What shock me was that the next day on 7 October 2023 after my resignation, Israel got hit by Hamas. Israel & Hamas War started that day. The whole world was shocked. When I thought of my encounter with a Jew from Israel – my boss, the experience of darkness and light at the hotel, the short work stint in an Israel company. All the timing of all these experiences seem plan by God. He let me met a Jew, know more about Israel Jewish belief, work for him for a short while and then prompted me to leave before war started. He is with me all the time. He protected me. He wants me to tell others of His Light in darkness. Don’t fall into darkness. Get out of it. Be in the light under his protection and care.
I was concerned for my ex-boss when the war started. Is he and his Israel staff safe? His family, his home, his office, how are they? I contacted him and he said he and his family are safe. He didn’t share much information what is happening. I was thinking did I make the right decision to leave his company? I felt sorry for leaving when I heard the news of war. He definitely need someone to be around when he might not be able to manage his business. But as I think about it, is all part of God’s plan for me.
Christmas is coming. A reminder of God’s Light of Life with Jesus birth. His Light in a world of Darkness. A Savior For The World. Will you believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him into His life? If you are Christian, be His Light & Reflect His Light so that others may know Him and be saved.
I will leave you with this word from Jesus in John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
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Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
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