I've been struck this morning by a reading in the Gospels about the start of Jesus' ministry. In Matthew 4:16-25 we see Messiah's first disciples called, His Kingdom preached and proved, with miraculous cures for crowds. The evangelist explains this is just what the prophet foretold:
"'The people dwelling darkness have seen a great light and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death on them a light has dawned.' From that time on Jesus began to preach, saying 'Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand' ...And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people ...and great crowds followed Him."
The writer refers us back to chapter 9 of Isaiah. Long before, Scripture foresaw bright, future, prospects for Naphtali's presently war-torn region. Up to that point Galilee had experienced destruction, death and darkness. Zebulun, the prophet predicts, will be the first territory in Palestine to witness and welcome Christ.
In Jordan's halcyon days, this long-awaited King, would sit on David's throne and usher in God's reign of peace. Messiah gave powerful proofs that a satellite from Heaven had docked on Planet Earth: the miracles He performed preview the Age to Come. The Son of God defeats the Devil, destroys death and Hell, and disperses sinful darkness with the sunlight of His life, offered spotlessly, for rebels, on His Cross.
With effects of sin nullified, there will be no more room for tears. The new world that Jesus heralds eradicates pain and sickness. This was message of the miracle-signs Christ worked. Only one single, vital, thing remains, by way of response, before God's realm appears.
Sinners must repent before the Son of God comes again to justly judge the world. The Father gave notice of this, on the third day, by raising the Lord Jesus, Son of God, from the dead. If rebels believe and bow, and sinners submit and sign-up, they can be sure of this: amnesty is offered, royal pardon is pledged, peace with God is proclaimed, through faith in His death for them.
Have you a family member in darkness? Have you a neighbor with no peace? Is there a colleague in rebellion? Do you know a student on death row outside Christ? Maybe you are aware of someone who is sick, grieved, or pained or who lives in gloom's terrorized war-zone?
Perhaps, at this time, when many wonder about Christ's birth, you might read them out this piece, or use it to guide your words, to offer truth and hope. Please, in this world of painful, sin-sick, darkness, don't leave them without light to perish in the night.
Subscribe to Gentle Reformation
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox