ABOUT 1929, a man by the name of George Joli attended a revival meeting in a little church and gave his heart to the Lord. From that time on, he and his wife went to church after church, searching for a people who believed the whole Bible. Despairing of ever finding such a group, they began to read the Bible and pray for God’s leading to help them find the right people to worship with. One midnight while praying, the Lord spoke to George and said, “Follow the star—Jesus the Light of the World.” His wife wrote those words down, but they had no idea what they meant.
Not long after that, a friend gave one of their daughters a bundle of Sunday school papers and other religious publications. As she looked through them, the girl called, “Mother, look! Here is just what Daddy said in his prayer!” There in the upper corner of one of the papers was a star and right under it were the words, “Jesus the Light of the World.”
As George’s wife scanned the front page of that Apostolic Faith paper, her eyes fell on an article describing an ordinance service at the Portland church. George had said, “If we ever find a people who believe in foot-washing, they will be the people of God.” When he saw this account he said, “We have to go to Portland.”
How do you go about moving a family of nine children across the country? The Great Depression was at its worst about that time, and the task seemed impossible. However, God opened the way. In 1933, the family of two parents and nine children left New York, with only $120 to make the trip across the continent. They camped along the road each night, and their meals consisted almost entirely of cornmeal or oatmeal mush with canned milk. On rare occasions, people gave them fresh vegetables from their gardens. The laundry was done in the creeks and rivers along the road.
On July 15, 1933, the family pulled onto the church campground in Portland, Oregon. Their best clothes were little more than rags, and some of the children had lost their shoes, but friendly Christian people saw to it that they were able to attend that afternoon teaching service. At last they had reached the people under the sign, “Jesus the Light of the World,” and they felt like they were in Heaven!
When the design of a church logo was contemplated, the decision was made to illustrate a phrase that has been with us since the early days of this work: “Jesus the Light of the World.” This phrase was first displayed in 1917 as an electric sign on our church building at Front and Burnside. When the Tabernacle was built in 1921, it featured the same words. Today, more than eighty years later, it is still there. When the headquarters church was moved to Sixth and Burnside in 1922, the same message was displayed on top of the new building, and it was proclaimed from that spot for about sixty years. Its position at the heart of downtown Portland made it a well-known landmark. Through the years, branch churches in many locations around the world have chosen to display the same heart-warming message.
1. What are some ways we can magnify or “lift up” Jesus in our daily lives?
2. List five names that are used in the Bible to refer to Jesus, and briefly describe how He has filled that role to you personally.
3. What benefits has the Light brought into your life?
“When my mother passed away, some of my friends and family traveled with me to another part of Nigeria for her burial. On our journey back to Lagos, we had an unusual encounter, and also the privilege to prove the Lord. About 70 kilometers before we arrived in Lagos, one of the vans traveling with us overheated. As we stopped by the side of the road and went about putting things to rights, two armed robbers emerged from the bush. They threatened my brother with a machete, but the Lord made it impossible for them to strike him. They took money from one man and a wrist watch from another.
“A few seconds later, one of them dashed toward me demanding me to surrender my money. At the same time he was trying to unsheathe his dagger. The Lord gave me unusual boldness. Looking straight at him, I shouted in his face, ‘Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!’ At the mention of that Name, he took to his heels with his colleague. They did not come back. We went to our vehicles and drove safely to Lagos. Surely the Name of Jesus is a strong tower! He is there when we need Him in any situation.” — Mujiwa Olamajulo