The Reading: Exodus 25:31-40
“you shall make the seven lamps for it” (v.37) RSV
This piece of furniture is well known nowadays as the Menorah – the seven branched lampstand or candelabrum. We learnt two weeks ago about the Laver which was used to cleanse, and last week about the Table of showbread (Bread of the Presence) which was used to feed. This week’s Lampstand has the natural benefit of bringing light.
In this dark world we need the light of God’s presence and also the light of his word to guide us. As the Psalmist says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Jesus brings us the presence of God, and surely that is why he said “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The love of Jesus dispels gloom and the teaching of Jesus clears away ignorance.
The arrival of Jesus (the word made flesh) is expressed well by John in the opening verses of his Gospel: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it … The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” (John 1:4-5, 9).
The seven-branched lampstand/candelabrum resided in the Holy Place in front of the veil that hid the Holy of Holies. It was regularly filled with oil to sustain the flames. This too was fulfilled in Jesus who lived by the life and power of the Holy Spirit. He was daily filled with heavenly power, and that was why he shone so brightly wherever he went.
We too are called to be lights in this world, and we can only do so by being filled with the same Holy Spirit. Jesus said: “You are the light of the world … men do not light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine …” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Thank you Lord for the light of your Spirit and your Word. Fill me afresh today and every day so I may shine for you.
1 Who had to keep the lamp burning?
2 Which miracle illustrated Jesus as the light of the world?