Jean’s Gospel: The Light Has Dawned
The Light Has Dawned
“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.” (Matt 4:16)
To what do you associate “darkness?” With evil? With violence? With ignorance? With chaos? With anxiety? With death? Yes, darkness is evident in all those circumstances, and more. But darkness is also deceptive and often sweet… for a time. To the ignorant or the hardened conscience “darkness” often appears as the light, as when men and women practice violence, sexual immorality, envy, greed, gossip, slander and the like, and give their approval to those who do likewise; or when the godless persecute or murder Christians as a service to God.
And those are just a few examples of the “darkness.” You surely get the picture. You are aware of the news. You have experienced darkness in your own homes…in your own schools or workplaces…in your own hearts.
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
This darkness is also called “the shadow of death,” because it leads, it pushes, and it pulls mankind down to death – eternal death. It is a region, which encompasses the whole world, and it is shaped like a valley: a steep, dark valley from which no man or woman can extricate their self. You cannot find your way out of it; if you could, it is too steep for you to climb out of; and sadly mankind often prefers the darkness. The only path left to man is to go further down, digging and digging, until he finally reaches his goal – death. “Who then can be saved?”
These are the consequence of man’s rebellion against God. Yes, Beloved, there is one God, the creator of heaven and earth. Sin and all sins, are in essence the fruit of unbelief in God. Living in the shadow of death is to live your life in a world in which there is no fear, love or trust in God, who created heaven and earth and all creatures. He created a very good world, but we corrupted it in our rebellion against God.
“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.”
Beloved, a great light has dawned. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” Does that seem implausible to you?
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
This true light, which gives light to everyone, came into the world. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who do receive him, who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God, who are born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
The light dawned on a few shepherds tending their flock outside the town of Bethlehem. The light also dawned on a few wise men from the east, probably Persia or Arabia. You see, Beloved, the light dawned for the whole world, both for the Jews and for the Gentiles.
What did they find in Bethlehem? A baby with Mary, His mother, caring for Him. His name is Jesus, which means “God saves.” The light, the all-powerful light, Immanuel, dawned in the infant Jesus, in a manger, in the little town of Bethlehem, in the Roman province of Judea, some 2,000 years ago. These are historical facts. Does that seem implausible to you?
Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, the eternal Word of God, united himself to humanity in what Christians call the incarnation. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Therefore, when we say Immanuel (God with us), let us understand that in His very person Jesus truly is “God with us”: He is fully God and fully man. Does that seem implausible to you?
That God would come to mankind in this way, as the light which dawns on our darkness, has been and continues to be implausible to many people. In approximately three short years of earthly ministry, men accused Jesus of being possessed by demons, of being a glutton and a drunkard, of associating with known sinners, of being a fraud and a blasphemer. They preferred the darkness to the light.
And thus, the only true man who came into the world to save sinners, was himself condemned as a sinner by sinful men; he was mocked, tortured, crucified and killed. But Jesus endured the humiliation for you. Everything Jesus did during those three years was for you:
- He was born in a manger and assumed poverty for you.
- He was circumcised under the Jewish law on the 8th day for you.
- He trained as a carpenter and was obedient to his parents for you.
- He was baptized a sinner in the Jordan River by John for you; not for Him; for you.
- Jesus gave sight to the blind; hearing to the deaf; healed the sick and the lame; all for you.
- Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead for you; so that you would know and believe that by the power of His Word Jesus can raise you from the dead.
- Jesus bore your sins in his body on a cross and paid the wages of your sin for you.
- Jesus came as the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world for you.
- And not least of all, Jesus rose from the dead for you. Jesus defeated sin, death and the devil for you, and He has risen bodily never to die again, for you! Jesus Christ has risen!
“Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Beloved, the light has dawned. Repent of your unbelief and turn to the light. Just as those who are healthy have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; so also, Jesus came not to call the self-righteous but sinners. He is the great Physician; Jesus alone paid for your sins and grants the forgiveness of sins to everyone to whom repentance and faith are granted.
God desires all people (every one of us) to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Yes, Beloved, there is objective, eternal truth, despite what popular culture teaches. God’s law is objective, as well as his grace and mercy. Jesus, in whom the fullness of God dwells, is the ultimate truth. We have this truth recorded in the Holy Bible.
The words that I have proclaimed to you today are not of my own thoughts or of my own imagination. They have been composed from the Word of God, the Holy Bible. They are true, objective words of eternal life, true light, inspired by the Spirit of God to grant you faith in God’s only begotten Son, who came into the world, not to condemn it but to save it.
Believe in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of your sins, for life and for salvation. He, by His Word, dispels your darkness and breathes life into your soul. He alone will lift you out of the valley of the shadow of death, as the Good Shepherd who seeks His lost sheep.
The promise is trustworthy: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” The light has dawned, Beloved; turn to Jesus, your risen Lord and God. Believe in Him. Amen.