Matthew 4:15-16 - "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned."
At least once a year, my neighborhood has a power outage that lasts several hours, or even days. This is no fun when the fridge, TV, and computer aren't working. And we don't like being cold or hot because the heater or air conditioner is off.
But the one thing we hate the most is the darkness. When the power goes out, the first thing we do is to fumble our way to the kitchen and start lighting candles. We need light now. Everything else can wait.
It's natural to want the light, isn't it? We don't like the darkness—worrying about the shadows and what lurks there. It's dangerous to walk around in the darkness, falling over chairs and shoes and your son's Legos.
And yet the Bible tells us that darkness is our natural state. Ever since humanity fell into sin, we have been "dwelling in darkness" and "in the shadow of death" (see also Isaiah 9:2).
But the darkness we live in is way more dangerous than the darkness from a power outage. Most of you are converts to Christianity; you know the darkness I'm talking about. I mean the spiritual darkness of fear, hatred, and hopelessness. I mean the darkness of always trying to get ahead, even if it means putting other people down—because you know you can't trust anyone, not even yourself. I mean the words that are whispered in darkness—the lies, the gossip, the backstabbing. And the actions that are born out of darkness—the cheating, the violence, the hurting of other people to get what we want, because we want it, and we want it now.
Into this darkness, Jesus came as the Light of the world. Evil can't live in His presence. When Jesus arrives, all the evils that used to run freely scuttle away as fast as they can, looking for dark corners to hide. Where Jesus is, there is life and joy and protection and blessedness.
The people of Galilee certainly saw that light. When Jesus began teaching about God, crowds of people started following Him. They listened—intently. Not everyone believed Him. But those who trusted Him found they had God's light shining in their lives.
And that Light defeated darkness forever when Jesus died on the cross at Calvary. By doing that, He broke the power of death and darkness over everyone who believes in Him. And when He rose from the dead three days later, He guaranteed that you and I would never have to walk in the darkness again. Jesus is alive forever, and because of Him, we will live, too. We will live in His light.
Remember too that the people in Galilee didn't just enjoy the light and go home again. They brought their family and friends. The Bible says they brought Jesus those who were sick, in pain, paralyzed, demon-possessed, or having seizures, and Jesus healed them. They didn't just keep the light of Jesus to themselves either. They shared Him with those they loved.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Your Son has come to free us from the darkness. May we tell others of Jesus' marvelous light. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Minh Chau Vo.
1. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by darkness (of any kind) in your life? How did you emerge from that?
2. Do you sense the light of God has dawned in your life? How did this come about?
3. Would you say your life is a "light" of sorts for others? Do you find they are attracted to you because of this?
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