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Brought to light

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to explore the outdoors. I remember treks into the woods and fields and the magical discoveries there in regard to nature and wildlife. As a younger child I can recall the glory of turning over sizable stones and the fascination of what was found under them—ants, worms, crickets and if you were really lucky, something like a lizard or small garden snake. This much was true: when you turned over the stone, whatever was under it was brought to light. Before the stone was turned over it was a mystery. Once you flipped it, the mystery gave way to

Paul speaks this way in his letter to Titus when he talks about eternal life “which now at His appointed season He has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me” (1:2-3). There are several items of interest here but I’d like to focus on just a couple of truths.

The first is that eternal life has been “brought to light.” Although most of us tend to think of eternal life in the quantitative sense (as life that goes on forever), there is also a qualitative side to it as well. After all, it’s eternal life—not eternal existence. This is what Jesus was speaking of when He said, “Now this is eternal life:  that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Christ isn’t using the word “know” in the sense of possessing information about the Father and Son, but in the relational sense of being a follower. Disciples share in the very life of the Father and Son. Since that life is on an eternal nature, disciples ae said to possess eternal life (John 5:24; 1 John 5:13). And as they hope to share in God’s life for eternity, they are also said to have the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2).

All of this has been “brought to light.” Of course it has we tell ourselves, through the appearance of Jesus. “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:4). Christ Himself said, “I am the light of the world” (8:12). All of this is true but it is not what Paul says here.

Instead, he tells us that eternal life has been brought to light “through the preaching entrusted to me” (Titus 1:3). Really Paul, your preaching? Get over yourself! And the truth is, he has. It should be obvious that he doesn’t intend to say that his preaching is the primary avenue through which life has been reveal—that would be Jesus and Paul himself would be the first to acknowledge it (see 2 Timothy 1:9-10 for an example). It suits his purposes here to speak of his preaching as bringing the Light to light.

It’s not hard to understand how God used Paul to bring light to the Gentiles. They didn’t grow up in synagogues or homes where the one, true God was talked about. When they heard Paul in the marketplace, the amphitheater, of wherever he was, the scales would fall from their eyes. In the same way, I think it would be useful for us to think about the daily proclamations we make (on current events, our children, our jobs, etc.) and how we can work God into them in order to bring light to people’s lives.

I recently listened to a post-game press conference where the football coach of a Christian university and a few of his players were answering questions from the media. I was amazed, inspired and encouraged by the way they all managed to make proclamations of Christ. It was clear that He was real to them and despite some setbacks, they were working to integrate Him into every part of their lives. I was convicted by their ability to weave their faith into their circumstances. I want more of that!

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