“I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
In the last chapter of the Bible, Jesus calls himself an unusual name, "the bright Morning Star."
At first glance, this image may seem puzzling. Today we know that what ancient people called the morning star, shining brightly before dawn, is the planet Venus. And because the Romans referred to the morning star as Lucifer, and Bible translators used this as a name for the devil, Jesus' self-description seems confusing. Our Scripture reading for today, however, helps shed light on this image.
King Balak of Moab had hired the prophet Balaam to curse Israel. Compelled to speak for God, however, Balaam could only bless the Israelites. In the blessing we have read today, Balaam prophesies, "A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel." By calling himself the "bright Morning Star," Jesus links himself with Balaam's prophecy, declaring that he is the Messiah from the line of David. Jesus will one day defeat all of God's enemies.
Jesus has ushered in the kingdom of God, but we still wait for the kingdom to come fully when he returns. Then God's peace—shalom—will reign in the new heavens and earth.
As you watch and wait for Jesus' return, take comfort and act to bring the glory of the Morning Star to all that God has given you to do today.
Jesus, bright Morning Star, shine in our lives. By your Spirit’s power, help us to shine for you in the world till you come again. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!