Summary: Jesus is the promised light to the people who walked in darkness. Examines the metaphor of "light" and what it actually describes.
A Light in the Darkness
Text: Matthew 4:12-25
When I was in 4th Grade my class took a field trip to the Cave of the Winds. At one point in the tour they turned the lights off and we experienced total darkness. Then in the distance someone lit a single match. It was amazing the difference that small flame made in the huge space.
Into a cave of spritual darkness, a land which had suffered in the darkness of it’s own failure to fulfill God’s covenant and which had suffered from the Idolatrous darkness of Babylonian captivity...
Proposition: Jesus bursts onto the scene not with a flickering match or pitiful flashlight but with the magnificent splendor of his radiant light.
Interrogative: Now that’s all well and good but the metaphor is only helpful if we understand the reality it describes. What does it mean that Jesus is, as He describes Himself in John’s Gospel, "the Light of the World" what is the great light that the people in darkness saw?
Transition: Just within the passage we read this morning I see at least two practical expressions of the light Metaphor and I’d like to consider them with you this morning. The first has to do with...
The light that the people in darkness see is clearly associated with the message Jesus brings. Or to put it another way The truth is the light which dispells the darkness of Satan’s lies.
What is that truth? Well let’s consider the...
v. 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
A few verses later in verse 23 we are told that Jesus is preaching the "good news of the kingdom."
Notice that just as we saw last week it’s a message of both responsibility and of Mercy:
"Repent" be sorry for your life of sin and show your sincerity by making a change
But it’s not a self help message The help of the Kingdom of Heaven is Promised, indeed if the message were only "Repent" the news of the kingdom certainly couldn’t be called "Good News."
The Good News is that Faith in Christ frees us from the tyrany of the Law, the lie that says you have to be good enough to earn your way to heaven.
The good news is that even though none of us are good enough, none of us has to be because Christ payed our way with His blood when He died on the cross.
The Good news is if we believe in him, If we trust that the price He paid is sufficient that we are saved.
Repent Yes, of Course turn from your life of sin, but not because that saves you but because it is the natural response of a thankful heart to the Good News that Jesus paid it all
So the light is the good news, the proclamation of this Message is throwing on the light switch... And Jesus is concerned about something more, not just the message but also the...
vv. 18-20 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20At once they left their nets and followed him.
He next makes a similar offer to James and John. Now I must confess at first I wasn’t sure if this was a part of the message today, I didn’t know if it just appeared here because this was the chronologically logical place to put it or if it was indeed a part of the "light" the prophetic quote refers too. In fact in the bulletin I didn’t include the entirety of the passage in the reading. But then as I looked more closely I saw that the preaching of the Good News and the healing of the sick and the gsthering of the crowds is there after this portion about calling disciples and it occurred to me that this was a bookend, a close quote, a final parenthesis pulling the passage together as a unit.
The calling of the disciples, the next generation of messengers is part and parcel of the light, because here at the very beginning they represent the ongoing work of Christ in the church and they remind us who serve Christ that we must be doing the same. Any Christian who is one step beyond the sinners’ prayer should be thinking about this next step, the next generation, preparing leadership, calling new messengers becuase this is how the light goes on
ILLUSTRATION: At our Christmas Eve candlelight service we symbolized this by "passing the flame" from person to person until the whole sanctuary was illuminated.