Light has come into the darkness. Hope has come into hopelessness.
Healing has come to sickness—all through Jesus
Christ. Jesus calls Simon and Andrew, James and John in this
moment, but he calls all people to repent—those in first-century
Galilee and those across time. He calls you to repent; he calls
me to repent. And why this call to repentance? Because “the
kingdom of heaven has come near.”
The idea of repentance makes me uncomfortable. It requires
me to face myself. Repentance demands that I look at my own
life and see the dark places that need the light of God’s grace.
Letting the light in—acknowledging my sins and failings—
brings pain. Can’t you just leave that little habit alone, God? Must you
address that issue now? The nearness of the kingdom of heaven
asks us for a change of direction, a change of behavior. The kingdom
of heaven demands obedience, a readiness to follow. It’s a
hard place to be. God calls and asks for response.
However, we are in good hands. We are in the hands of a
healer. Jesus begins his ministry by speaking the truth and calling
disciples, but he also begins by healing. He heals all those
who come to him with illnesses. Jesus heals physical sicknesses
and also soul sicknesses. He roots out our greed and lies, our
obsessions and selfishness. He reaches out to us saying, “Follow
me.” By following in obedience, we find a better way, a difficult
way—but one that brings joy and peace.
All we have to do is follow.
Jesus, the light of the nearness of the kingdom shines on my path. May I choose to follow and obey. Amen.
The image of light figures in three of the texts. Light not only illumines but brings a changed situation. The psalmist’s confession links light with salvation. The Gospel lesson expresses deliverance in terms of the nearness of God’s reign, which overcomes diseases and distortions. Light permits well-being. Light is the mode of God’s presence.
• Read Isaiah 9:1-4. When has God called you out of the darkness of an old habit, a familiar circumstance, into the light of new opportunity for ministry?
• Read Psalm 27:1, 4-9. Do you feel more comfortable talking with God about your joys or your pains? Is there need for more openness in either?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. In your faith community, when have members found themselves at odds over priorities of no eternal value?
• Read Matthew 4:12-23. Put yourself into the story. What do you hear, see, feel, or smell? How have you answered the call of Jesus?
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