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Seeing in the light reveals spiritual truth

Woody Allen quipped, "I'm afraid of the dark and suspicious of the light."

Maybe you've rolled over a rock or log that had been laying on the ground for a long time and seen the assortment of critters scatter from under their earthy habitat, scurrying in a panic-stricken frenzy until the rock or log is rolled back into its place, and then make a mad dash to get back to where they felt secure.

I see this imagery in the way some of the people reacted toward the light that Jesus brought when he made his earthly appearance 2,000 years ago: Matthew 4:16 teaches that Jesus was fulfilling a prophecy way back from Isaiah as his divine light shone from his person and his teachings: "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, Light has dawned." One would expect Jesus' ministry to begin with widespread acceptance, excitement, and anticipation by the people who best knew the prophecies about Christ, but Luke 4 recounts that the people who first heard Jesus proclaim his spiritual kingdom of light reacted much more like earthy critters - they were panicked and anxious at what that light revealed about themselves and forced Jesus away!

The people were used to their darkness, and although the light of Christ was divine, it revealed surprising realities the people hadn't seen before:

The light of Christ reveals the realities about God

The light shows Him as He really, genuinely IS - often different than the way we think of him, or make him out to be in our minds. We often fabricate a God that complies with our needs and preferences - a God we demand approval from. The Pharisees, for example, thought God was so proud of them for their works and legalism, and rejected Christ's teaching that God was concerned with their hearts.

Sometimes in our minds, we reject ideas about a god of pure holiness, a god who has no qualms sending sinners to hell, a god we cannot argue with or give counsel to, a god of absolute, unchanging, unapologetic and exclusive truth, a god who does not share his throne.

The light of Christ reveals our standing before God

Matthew 4:16 describes the people as sitting in darkness and death; Luke 4 described the people as captive and blind. Many of these people were angry to hear that their religious exercises weren't enough to make them righteous; in spite of their religious attendance, Jesus taught they still needed to be changed by him. Religious works still aren't enough to gain us a righteousness equal to Christ's perfection; without forgiveness and freedom through Jesus Christ's death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, every one of us is lost from God, captive to sin, and blind to spiritual truth.

The light of Christ reveals the need to repent

Matthew 4:17 shows how Jesus addresses the anxiety of the crowds: "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The light reveals the necessity to turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins through faith - not faith in their own goodness or morality or religious works, but a faith in Jesus as their savior from sin.

As you seek the Savior this holiday season, allow his word to reveal spiritual truth; there's no need to scurry away from the light you will find; instead, use it to guide your steps to the lightgiver.

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