A Great Light Shines in the Darkness

A Great Light Shines in the Darkness

All roads lead to Rome

Have you ever heard someone say that all religions are just different, but equal, paths to God? When it comes to manmade religions, in a sense, they are right. Religions constructed by man’s rules are centered on all the things we must do in order to be a better person, earn God’s love, or be one of the chosen. The details may vary but the outline is the same: God demands our sacrifice before doing anything for us.

While sad, it is a reasonable assumption to make if all you know about God is what you can see with your senses, or think of with your intellect. They are wrong, but reasonable.

That’s why Isaiah describes us as “people dwelling in darkness”, meaning we have not had the truth revealed to us. We can’t get there on our own–in fact we don’t even know what direction to go. Jesus comes to us as “a great light” that shows us the nature of God, the nature of our sins, the corruption of the world, and the path to eternal life.

God wants us to know Him. He wants this so much that He came and dwelt among us. He took on flesh, then used it to serve us. He took to Himself our sins, not our good deeds. He didn’t kill us when we revolted against Him, but instead, let us kill Him as a sacrifice.

It’s all backward from what we would think. It defies human reason or logic and rightly so. It is no wonder we need to have it illuminated for us.

Thanks be to God for being our light in the darkness.

Here is the full sermon text from Matthew 4:

Jesus Begins His Ministry

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
    the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 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.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Ministers to Great Crowds

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

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Bible Study: Our midweek Bible study is on hiatus during Advent and will resume on January 11th.

Congregational Meeting on January 29th to discuss establishing a Transition Fund. This is in reference to the letter mailed to all members in early December. If you have any questions, please contact Sean Poe or Loyd Harris.

Today’s (Jan. 22nd) Congregational Meeting Outcome: It was decided in today’s meeting that we will NOT hold in-person Lenten services. We will post services in this online format.

Donations: Even during the pandemic and with a decline in attendance, the expenses continue. If you wish to make a donation please mail them to the St. James post office box as that is a secure location. You may also donate online.

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