Light for Those in Darkness
And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “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." Matthew 4:13-16
Zebulun and Naphtali. They are no Judah and certainly no Benjamin. They are neither great nor memorable. But they are two of the twelve tribes of Israel. Isaiah speaks about the suffering faced by these tribes as the Assyrians would claim these two lands a decade before Israel’s fall in 722. Zebulun and Naphtali fall and are the first be under the rule of the enemies. It makes for dark times for this region that would be called Galilee. Oppression, poverty, illness, and suffering are woven together like a quilt of darkness that covers the people. They are two of the farthest regions of the northern kingdom and the first to see the results of consistently rejecting the Word of the Lord and chasing after other gods and their own selfish desires. They are now reaping the harvest of suffering and hardship that came from the seeds of discontent that they had sown.
How often we have been no different than Zebulun or Naphtali or Dan or Gad. We have been more concerned with our social life, our social calendar, and our social media. We have held sacred our sports allegiances and our recreation times while the Word of God has remained a shut book and an extinguished lamp. We have been content to sit in the darkness of a world with no need of God and His Word. You are no different than the people to whom Isaiah spoke his prophecy and among whom Jesus began his ministry. You are sinners who dwell in darkness.
But God has called you out of this darkness. He has called you to turn away from the darkness of desire and temptation and to return to the marvelous light of Christ’s love. Jesus Christ came as the bright morning star, the faint light that rises in the East to bring to those living under the shadow of sin. A light has dawned, and that light is the light of Christ. He is the light of the world, the light that no darkness can overcome and the light that never goes out. For every person who has ever been overcome by the darkness of their own sin or the effects of sin that surround them, they can live each day knowing that Jesus Christ scatters the darkness of sin by His triumphant resurrection. For all those who have lived in darkness, like those living in Zebulun and Naphtali, Jesus Christ has come, from Galilee of the nations, to be the light for all the world!
Prayer – Blessed are You, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who led Your people Israel by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Enlighten our darkness by the light of Your Christ; may His Word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path; for You are merciful, and You love Your whole creation and we, Your creatures, glorify You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan