The Uncommon Christ series explores lesser-known scriptural names and titles of Jesus Christ.
Sunset tonight begins the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah (“dedication”), a holiday Jesus Himself observed (1). Also known as the Festival of Lights, this is the celebration of a miracle in 160 B.C. where the temple menorah provided light for eight days on only a one-day supply of consecrated oil.
Today, then, is the perfect time to celebrate the Light of the World (2), He whose brightness “fills the immensity of space” and illuminates our souls (3). He is the self-declared "bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16).
The astronomical phenomena of morning stars—or “evening stars,” depending on Earth’s positioning—were studied by ancient civilizations spanning the globe, from Vietnam to North America, Kenya to Mexico, and everywhere between.
You may have seen it: in the hours preceding sunrise, a bright celestial object or two may dot the horizon. These actually aren’t stars at all, but planets. Brightest and most consistent is Venus: the chief morning star revered by the ancients, heralding impending sunrise. (4)
Compared with the sun that floods the earth with light and life, the morning star might seem an insufficient symbol for the Savior. But it adds a unique perspective on Him: this light shines its brightest in the midst of darkness (5), unwaveringly signaling the hope and promise of the greater light sitting just beneath the horizon.
Perhaps “bright and morning star” was meaningful to early Christian saints reading John’s Revelation because it signified Christ's (the Light’s) much-anticipated promise to return to the earth again someday.
In the darkness of life, the assurance and signs of the Second Coming can provide confidence in the unimaginable splendors that will one day be ours, not the least of which are unending immortality, growth, and relationships. You and I live in the night’s final hours, when those who are looking can see the Lord’s constant reminders that the dawn of His coming is imminent and hastening.
The Bright and Morning Star provides the promise—the beacon of hope and motivation for all who eagerly wait for the “Sun of righteousness [to] arise with healing in his wings” (6).
see John 10
John 8:12, 9:5. See also Psalm 27:1; 2 Corinthians 4:6; John 1:7-9.
"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (John 1:5).
Malachi 4:2, KJV