“The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light…” (Matthew 4:16)
All last week, we talked about BEing the Light – what that means and how we are to go about our task (living graciously, by loving people just as Jesus loved… and sharing truth with open hearts).
But I didn’t want to leave this topic without addressing something that is really essential for us to understand…
We are all aware that the world is a dark place and it is getting “darker” every day. Every time we turn on the news we are deluged with anger and revenge and mistreatment and horrible crimes – and it seems like people are angrier, more vengeful, more vicious, and more self-centered than ever.
I can’t remember a time (in my life) where there is more focus on “sensitivity” to how our actions/words effect people – and yet, more people are more prone to offense than ever. It seems like the more we try to get our “act together” the more it falls apart.
But we HAVE been warned about this… Nearly 2000 years ago, the apostle told us:
I cannot think of a more accurate prediction than these words. What is more sobering is the fact that we are actually living in those days. The time is short. The days are evil. It is enough to dampen the spirits of even the the most joyful of souls.
And that brings me to the point I want to make… These are the darkest of times, and yet there is no greater opportunity (before us) than what we have right now.
The easiest thing to do would be to just “hole up” somewhere and keep all that darkness away from us as best we can. Let’s be safe. Let’s stay out of harm’s way. Let’s avoid all the nonsense that threatens to tear our world apart. Let’s isolate ourselves from the darkness and just let them rip each other apart (after all, they deserve their own destruction!).
Or we could realize the truth that the Light always shines brightest and best in the darkest places. The darker it is, the greater the opportunity for the Light to shine.
This was Jesus’ solution. In our verse for today, Matthew reminds us of another prophecy about a dark world and Light coming into it. Isaiah (9:1-2) saw the day when Jesus would enter the world to be “a great Light” that was meant to be seen!
It seems that we have two choices in these perilous times… we can either fear the dark (and do our best to keep it away from us) OR we can rise up in the realization that God needs to be seen NOW more than ever. We can run out into the darkness knowing that the God of Light goes with us – to do what He loves to do… love people into seeing their need for Him.
It does us no good to spend our time complaining about all the darkness… the only real option we have is to BE what Christ makes us – the Light of the World!