The Light of God’s Word

Matthew 4: 12-17, 23-25
1 Jn 3: 22 – 4: 6 / Ps 2: 7-8, 10-12

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.
(Matthew 4:17)

Jesus went all over Galilee
To heal the sick of body and soul.
We must respond to this ministry
If following Jesus be our goal.

When Jesus heard that John had been imprisoned, he withdrew to Galilee. He moved from Nazareth to make his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in the land under the shadow of death a light has dawned.” From that time on Jesus began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Jesus went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease and sickness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria. People brought to Him all who suffered with various illnesses and afflictions, epileptics, paralytics, and those possessed by demons, and He healed them. And large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan River followed Him.

Reflection

As John the Baptist had predicted – “He must increase; I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30)- Jesus began to expand His ministry as John’s role started to diminish. John was the harbinger of the Messiah, but his star must fade first before the Lord’s would shine. “He moved from Nazareth to make His home in Capernaum by the sea” because He was rejected by His own townmates (Jn.4:44- A prophet has no honor in his native place), and to fulfill scriptures: “The coastlands will wait for His teaching” (Isa.42:4). Before Jesus came to Galilee, the people there were in darkness, because the Gospel was yet to be preached to them. His preaching of repentance, coupled with healings of all kinds of disease and affliction was the great light that had dawned upon them.

Before Christ and His teachings came into our lives, we were still in darkness. When we joined a renewal community it was because we felt a great need to be reconciled with Him once again, and put some meaning into our lives. We listened to His message, and learned to be truly penitent of our sins. And with our support group to help us, we found true peace of mind and soul. Jesus healed us, just as He did the thousands in Capernaum in Galilee. But our healing was just the beginning. After the Spirit tested and strengthened our commitment, we found that it was not only for our renewal that the Lord had called us; He was commissioning us into His service, in order to follow Him perfectly.

We have discovered the great light of the Gospel of Jesus, and it is now directing our lives. If we are to follow Him, we must spread this light to others who are still sitting in the darkness of sin, and who are still not aware of their need for repentance. This was and still is the message of Isaiah and the prophets of old, of John the Baptist, and of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is the vital message that all must heed to start the year right: Repent of all sinful ways of the past in order to start anew. May our new year 2010 be lived in Christ’s eternal light.

Loving Father, we look back in repentance and look forward in hope, knowing that You have forgiven our sins as we strive to follow Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ in all His teachings. Bless our new year with the power of Your Spirit. Amen.

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