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
I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near.
A star will come out of Jacob;
a scepter will rise out of Israel.
He [Jesus] replied, "When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." Matthew 16:2-3
Praise God: For giving us signs of his presence.
Offer Thanks: For all the ways God has guided you.
Confess: Any confusion that comes from taking your eyes off Jesus.
Ask God: To help you stay the course by fixing your eyes on him.
Have you ever wondered how ancient mariners were able to navigate without using a compass? One trick was to watch the flight paths of birds. Norse sailors knew that a seabird with a full beak was heading to its rookery on land while a bird with an empty beak was probably heading out to sea in search of food.
The Phoenicians, like many seafaring peoples that followed, were sophisticated enough to rely on the sky to get them through the treacherous seas. By watching the sun in its path, they knew whether they were heading east or west. They could also locate their position by gazing at the night sky, aware as they were that individual stars appear at fixed distances above the horizon at any particular location and time of year. Even today, satellites use a similar technique, marking their position in space by using "star trackers," instruments that use groups of stars as reference points.
But what does any of this have to do with Christ as the bright Morning Star? Remember that the morning star was considered the harbinger of dawn. When Jesus called himself the bright Morning Star, he was saying that he is our reference point — the sign that a new day is dawning on the world. Scripture tells us that this will be a day that will never end. Its light will be so steady, strong, and fixed that darkness will finally be banished from the earth. No more sin, no more sorrow, no more tears. If the first coming of Jesus is like the star that announces the dawn, his second coming will be like lightning, bringing the swift fulfillment of his kingdom.
Like the ancient mariners, who were able to read the skies, we need to remember to look up, to lift our faces to the Bright Morning Star, because it is only when Jesus is our reference point that we understand our true location in space and time.
Jesus faulted the religious leaders of his day for failing to interpret the signs of the times. Let us pray today for the grace to be like wise seafarers, joyful when they saw the morning star rising in the east.
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.