Light of the World: Day Twelve
The Light Shines
Read Matthew 4:12-22
Yesterday we observed how Simeon alluded to the fact that Jesus is the realization of Isaiah’s prophecy about the great light. Here in Matthew’s Gospel, he clearly indicates that Jesus’ life is the fulfillment of Isaiah 9:2. Matthew includes all the details about where Jesus came from before beginning his ministry in order to prove to the reader that Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
As Jesus begins his ministry, he calls for people to repent (turn from) sin. Jesus’ message during his first advent was clear…repent and believe in him as the promised Messiah. Why? Because the kingdom of God is coming and the only way to get into that kingdom is through him.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
What follows is the description of the calling of the first disciples: Peter, Andrew, James and John. While it may seem odd that these men dropped what they were doing in order to follow a man that seemingly randomly calls out to them, it’s actually not unmerited. When we put the timeline of the Gospels together, we see that at least two of the disciples (Peter and Andrew) had previously known and spent time with Jesus (see John 1:35-51). So, their obedience in turning to him was not blind or undeserved for John the Baptist had already declared Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:35-36).
Look back at Matthew 4:20 and 22 and note the two ways the disciples’ obedience is described. First, it was immediate. The disciples immediately turned from what they were doing in order to follow Jesus. Second, it was complete. Peter and Andrew left their nets. James and John left their boat and their father. They didn’t fold up their nets and take them, neither did they linger on the boat. These disciples obeyed immediately and completely.
Now, these 4 men were by no means perfect and certainly had a long way to go in their maturity and understanding but nevertheless, they provide a great example of what obedience to the Lord should look like: immediate and complete.
Let’s pause for a minute and observe the way that Matthew’s Gospel, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has unfolded. First, we see that Jesus is the great light that shines on those in darkness. Next, he calls people to repent (turn to him). Finally, we see an example of the disciples following him immediately and completely. Thus, in these few verses we see the entirety of Jesus’ ministry summed up. He is the great light that shines into the darkness by revealing mankind’s sinful state and our need to turn to the Lamb of God to take away our sin. Praise be to God that the light has dawned on those in darkness.
Action Point: Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Take a few moments to remember the circumstances in which you first realized you were a sinner in need of a Savior. Thank God today for his free gift of grace and acknowledge that without it, you would still be lost in darkness.