In the last chapter of the book of Revelation, Jesus calls himself the "bright Morning Star." In ancient times, the morning star was thought of as a herald of the new day, signaling the dawn of hope and joy. The brightest object in the sky aside from the sun and moon, it is a fitting type for Christ, who ushers in a new day for the entire world. When you call on Jesus, the Bright Morning Star, you are calling on the One from whom all darkness flees.
"I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." Revelation 22:16
Praying the Name
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." Matthew 2:1-2
"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." Revelation 22:16
Praise God: For shining his light into our world.
Offer Thanks: For the ways God has shed his light on you.
Confess: Any hidden sins, which fester in the darkness.
Ask God: To make you eager for the new life he gives you.
"Light therapy" is the treatment of choice for a depressive condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly known as SAD. Though the diagnosis may sound trendy, anyone who lives in a climate that gets only a little winter sunlight is not likely to doubt it. Many of us would be the first to patronize a restaurant like the one in Helsinki, Finland, that from October to March serves bright light with breakfast. Every morning the Café Engel places light boxes throughout the restaurant so that, along with Danish and coffee, patrons can get their fix of light.
It seems obvious that our bodies are wired for light. Without enough of it, some of us are prone to weight gain, irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress. But it's not only our bodies that suffer in the darkness.
Our souls long for the light as well. Perhaps that's why the story of Jesus is associated with light from start to finish.
Remember the brilliant star that led Magi from the east to the child Jesus in Bethlehem? Some scholars think the "star" was the light produced by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which happened three times in 7 BC.1 Such a celestial event would have been of particular interest at that time because Jupiter was commonly associated with kingly rule and Saturn with the Jewish people.
To the Magi, the star of Bethlehem was a sign that a glorious kingdom was about to dawn. So the life of Jesus begins with a "star," and you can say that it also ends with a star, because in the last chapter of the Bible the risen Lord calls himself the "bright Morning Star," a reference to the planet Venus, the brightest object in the predawn sky except for the moon — the sure sign that dawn will soon break over the world.
Two thousand years later, we can echo the words of the Magi concerning the newborn king: "We have seen his star when it rose and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2). Because of Jesus, a new day, bright with promise, has dawned on the entire world. Or, to put it another way, Jesus is the most powerful light therapy ever invented. He is the One who destroys our darkness by the light of his presence. This week, try imprinting this name on your heart by choosing a day to rise early. As you watch the sun come up, you may even spot Venus rising in the east. In those predawn moments, praise the risen Christ, the Bright Morning Star, who has come to shine his light on you.
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.