“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Shortly after Jesus’s resurrection, His followers began to refer to themselves as being part of a movement that they called “The Way.” It wasn’t until years later, at the church in Antioch, that the term “Christian” began to be applied to Jesus’ followers (Acts 11:26).
Originally, calling someone a “Christian” was a derogatory label – a put-down. Literally, it meant “little Christs.” People around Antioch were making fun of the way in which Jesus followers cared for people who needed help, like orphans, and the poor, and widows with no other means of support.
When “The Way” met together for worship, they typically shared a message about Jesus’ teachings, much like we do today. And they usually would sing one or more of the Psalm’s together, many of which have amazingly accurate references to Jesus (even though they were written nearly a thousand years prior to His birth).
This is one of the reasons that the Book of Psalms has often been called the prayer book of the Early Christian Church. Through their writings, the Psalmists pour out their souls to God, expressing just about every human emotion – praise, awe, fear, and even anger about the circumstances in which they found themselves.
This Scripture, Psalm 119:105, speaks of the writer’s awe, praise, and thankfulness for the guidance that God provides to believers. The Lord’s “word” has sort of a double meaning – it can be taken at least two ways. We often refer to Scripture as the Word of God – or the Living Word – that’s one meaning.
And a second way of reading this is as it being Jesus Himself – the Word made flesh (John 1:1) – who leads and guides us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, which God gives to every person who places his or her faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
We might imagine what it would have been like for the Psalmist to travel somewhere on a dark, moonless night, perhaps by following some well-trodden trail. Without having a lamp in hand, it would be likely that a rock, or a root growing up out of the soil, might catch a foot and cause the Psalmist to stumble, perhaps even fall and be injured.
But with the word there comes light to the one who walks, light that helps avoids stumbling, and light that helps illuminate the next step, or two, along the path.
Jesus followers today are still sometimes referred to as belonging to “The Way.” And we are all bearers of the light, the light of Christ, which we are to pass on to those who are still stumbling in the darkness.
Just like in the Early Church, our actions speak so much louder than our words. It’s in the way that we care for -- and relate to – those around us, that people begin to realize there is something different about us. Something they may begin to feel is lacking within their own lives; something they start to want to experience themselves.
All of this can flow from having a growing personal relationship with our Living Lord -- Jesus Christ -- who provides us daily with the illumination we need as we walk with Him along the path of life.
In His peace,
Pastor John Frank ><>