When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali—to fulfil what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
Matthew 4 : 12 – 16
Here is one of the turning points in Jesus’ life. Jesus has left the wilderness. He realises the dangerous situation he faces since John has been arrested, and he responds by withdrawing. He is now on his way to Capernaum, which is the hub of his Galilean ministry. These lands are important because they are the lands that God had sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These are also the lands God had shown to Moses. These lands are a divine gift, but during the time of Jesus, they were under imperial powers of Rome.
They were sitting in the darkness of Rome’s power. Jesus is that light shining in the darkness. He is that saving presence which will shine light on the darkness of the Roman empire, which was the empire who destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 70 CE. This light, which has been much needed, and people have been waiting is finally coming in Jesus.
Now, we don’t find ourselves under Roman rule. We do find ourselves in a time of being controlled by this pandemic. We stay inside and are follow what the government has said. The good news for us is that the light has come. We are also reminded that God does not forget his people and the promises which have been made. While we might feel like we are sitting a time of darkness, darkness does not have the last word. The light is breaking through new every morning.
Prayer: Faithful God, we give you thanks that you have given us Jesus, who is the light which shines in the darkness. We give you thanks that darkness does not have the last word, but that light always breaks through. Guide us as we seek out your gift of light even in these dark times of this pandemic. Remind us that you do not forget your people, and that your love and hope will always prevail. Amen.
Action: Whether you go on a walk or look out your window, look for the light. When you feel hopeless, look for a sign of hope a sign of light amidst the darkness. Turn a light on, light a candle, remember that the light has come and continues to shine and break through darkness in this world.