Article by Pastor Adam WallerElder at GraceLife London
How do we explain the significance of the person and work of Jesus Christ to this world? One way that the Gospel is demonstrated in Scripture is by using the fundamental principles of light and darkness. In Matthew 4:16, the words of Isaiah 9:2 are applied to Jesus’ arrival in Galilee, particularly the former regions of Zebulun and Naphtali. The description of this event is announced this way, “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.”
What a picture! These people whose lives had been spent in the darkness of their sins, not seeing their spiritual state would for the first time be exposed to the Light of the World. They would have an overwhelming Light who could direct them to eternal life through Him. But the sad reality is that many of these people would not see the light that was right in front of them. In Matthew 11:23, this same region is rebuked for not accepting the Light of Jesus the Messiah as preached by Him and demonstrated through His miracles. The Light had dawned in their presence but they had missed it. They had been exposed to the Light but yet they could not see what was right in front of them.
Paul explains why people like many of those in Capernaum do not respond to the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. The simple answer is that people are born blinded by “the god of this world” Satan. Satan keeps people from seeing Christ. He can cause a persistent eclipse in the minds of people giving them the desires of their flesh, the treasures of this world, or simply the deception of living in a false spirituality.
Can you imagine being born blind? You only have ideas of what the world looks like but never a clear sight of what is in front of you. This is true of many people who are born blind and do not have the resources to have their blindness cured. Only in the last few decades could someone sightless have a hope of actually having a surgery for them to gain sight, light in a world previously dark to them. In the first century, there was no such surgery. If you were born without sight or somehow lost your ability to see sometime in your life, you were stuck that way.
But spiritually everyone is born blind. Everyone is in need of a miraculous healing of our minds so that we can see the “glory of Christ, who is the image of God” as it has been laid out to us in the Bible. Paul talks about this miraculous spiritual healing that God does through the preaching of Jesus Christ. When the Person and Work of Jesus Christ is preached, God works in the hearts of His elect as He did in creating the world in the beginning. Paul says, “For God, who said, Light shall shine out of darkness is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Why do people become true followers of Jesus Christ? It is because God does a miracle as great as when He created the world. He shines light in a place where there was previously nothing that would or even could produce light. And when He does, a person sees the glory of Christ in a way that he never has before. The beauty of Christ infiltrates our hearts and our minds so that we are overcome with our sinfulness and Christ’s righteousness and love. Confession, repentance, faith, and obedience are all an outworking of this spiritual sight! It is then that a person recognizes that God “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
Have you been exposed to the Light of Christ’s glory? If so, this does not mean that you are a Christian. Only if this Light overcomes your heart leading to repentance and faith demonstrated in good works can you claim that you now see.