The Great Light
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The Great Light
Psalm 27:1, 4-9
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
A common theme of life in this world is a time of darkness. For some it is literal darkness. Where we live in Michigan, we have 4 different seasons In the summer we live with more light for the majority of the day and in the winter we live with more darkness through the day. In places such as the artic, ant-artic, or Alaska, there is light for the entire day in the summer and darkness for the entire day in the winter. In places near the equator such as Colombia where my in-laws are from there are no seasons and the amount of light during the day and darkness at night is fairly constant. For others they could be living a life in darkness spiritually even though they are living in light physically. For Israel at the time of Jesus, they lived in both.
In the land of Galilee they lived in darkness, awaiting the messiah. They were feeling oppressed by Roman occupation and taxes as well as the temple taxes. They were living in darkness in sin as well. Galilee was not the richest of lands but they made due and it was an area of much trade, therefore having a large gentile presence as well. This place of darkness was a great place for the light to begin to shine. Jesus is known as the light and our passages for today explain to us that he began his ministry in Galilee and specifically in the town of Capernaum. Jesus first announced himself as the Messiah in his hometown but as it was not a welcomed message, the light was no longer able to return to Nazareth.
Jesus is described as the light because he had so many similarities with the light in how it functions and acts. The absence of light leaves only darkness. Biblically light stands for everything that is holy and good, it represents knowledge, wisdom, grace, hope, and God’s revelation. Darkness however, is associated with evil, sin, and despair. When Christ enters in to begin his ministry he is like a light piercing through the darkness. He shines a light upon evil and sin and replaces it with love and purity. He calls everyone to repentance because the kingdom of heaven is near. He called people to come into the light. Capernaum and the other towns of Galilee had the great privilege to be the first to hear Christ’s message. They were the first the witness the miracles that Jesus performed. This area was a perfect spot because it was so diverse between both Jews and Gentiles and Jesus came into the world to be a light in the darkness of Jew and Gentile alike.
To most scholars it is believed that his first miracle was to turn water into wine. However, there are some who see his first Miracle right here in our passage of Matthew as Jesus calls to people whom he has never met and have never met him to follow him. This was completely the opposite of any normal Rabbi of the time. Generally it would be the followers seeking out the Rabbi to follow in almost a manner of worshipping them. However, In Jesus’ case, he sought out for his own followers. However, the miracle in Matthew’s gospel is that Jesus sees them for the first time, asks them to follow him, and they get up and leave everything behind to follow him. Why would they do something like that for someone whom they never met before? I believe that it is because these men saw a light that they never had seen before. It was a light so bright and so great that it could not be ignored. Therefore, they left all behind and followed that light.
In Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he takes the time to shed light on the things that they are struggling with the most. The first thing that he points out is that all of their quarreling over whose word is better and more authoritative to listen to, all needs to stop. Through all of their quarreling and loyalty to their teachers has caused them to miss the point and lose focus of the light. The light is Jesus and he is the deciding authority that they must listen to. Many teachers and preachers can have lots of different interpretations of the truth and have their own way of thinking as well. However, the final authority is the Great Light. We find that authority in the Word of God. When we have disagreements, we need to turn to the light to help us resolve these agreements. Whatever his Word says is the true authority. We might try to have our own way but unless his Word is in agreement with what we believe to be right then we need to be humble enough to accept when we are wrong. His word is also a light in the darkness.
Many of us have a history of facing many trials and tribulations in our lives. I for one have had my fair share and currently am living in the middle of one as well. I know some of you are experiencing the same. There are days when it may seem pointless to get out of bed in the morning. It may seem like there is no end to the pain and disappointments. However, we must remember that we have a Great Light that will shine through the darkness of our lives. The light will first of all shine a light on to our sin and the sins of others who may be hurting us. The light will then shine a light of hope in the end that there is a solution and that everything is going to be ok. If I was experiencing what I am experiencing now 25 years ago I probably would not be doing as well as I am. 25 years ago I was not walking in the light and nor did I see the light. Darkness was all around me and trying to hide me from the light. Praise be to God though that the darkness cannot hide anything because the darkness has no power over the light. Darkness must always submit to the power of the light.
We are all given the privilege of choice in life. We have the choice to seek out the darkness, so all that is evil, sinful, and despair. Or we can seek out all that is light being, holy, hopeful, all knowledge and wisdom, all grace and peace, as well as joy and comfort. My prayer for you is that your eyes be so opened to see the Great Light and that you will follow and walk in his footsteps. The disciples chose to follow Jesus when he called them because they saw the Great Light. They chose to follow that light where ever it led them. Do you have the courage to follow the light too where ever it might lead you. The light led me here behind this pulpit to deliver this message to you. We, God’s beautiful creation have seen a Great Light. The Darkness has never overcome that light and it never will. I pray that you will live in the light. Also, if you haven’t been living in the light then I invite you today to step into the light and see all that He has for you.