Dear Disciples of Christ,
I read the other day of a regular traveler along I-68 in western Maryland. It’s a scenic, very hilly piece of interstate. He’d gotten quite used to the scenery until it became a blur to him, especially in the winter when the trees were bare and the ground was brown (or white with snow). But, one night he experienced something new! As he descended toward Exit 50 he noticed a beautiful array of lights in the valley below. The lights caused him to wonder, “What’s that?! I gotta see it!” The bright lights, invisible by day, shone brightly in the dark to draw Him in.
A continuing theme in this season of Epiphany is light … lights that contrast with darkness to reveal the light of Christ in world. It’s a light we see growing as the season progresses to lead people to God and the light of His grace and mercy. God speaks through Isaiah to promise His people, living under the oppression of foreign powers at the time, it’s not always going to be like this, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2). Joys will multiply. Burdens and oppression will be lifted. And these promises are realized centuries later when the Light of the World, Jesus Christ begins His ministry.
Jesus begins His ministry, not to bring the royal throne of David back to Jerusalem, but to bring an even greater kingdom into reality. He says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Jesus commands Israel, and you and me, to turn away from reliance and trust in the powers of the world - the sin of idolatry - and return to reliance and trust in God. He calls on His disciples, including you and me, to be bright lights shining in the world … lights which attract others to Jesus and into the kingdom of heaven that awaits all who believe in Him.
Your Brother in Christ,