TITLE: His Light for Our Darkness
DATE: December 4, 2018
TEXT: Matthew 4: 12-17 excerpts (ESV) (Jesus left) Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, …..so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled…. 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.”
Although his faith remained solid, the attitude of Luther, God’s servant called to restore “salvation by grace” to His people, was not always “sweetness and light”.
There came a time when…
Things managed to reach an all time low when Luther’s wife came before him dressed in the dark clothing of someone who has lost a loved one. Fearing that he had missed the demise of a friend or colleague Luther asked, “Wife, what is this? I have not heard of anybody being dead. Why have you put on this clothing? Why are you in some type of mourning?”
“Indeed,” she said, “I am in mourning. I am in mourning for God.”
Without stopping, she continued, “You have looked so sad this week, I could think of no other explanation other than one which said: God was dead.” Realizing his error, Luther replied: “Forgive me, God; forgive me, wife!”
Luther’s depressed mood should not seem out of line to us.
We live in a time, in an age, where people compete with each other to be negative and dark.
Sour expressions are an all too familiar sight and the dour countenance seems to be the rule rather than the exception. Even God’s elect are not entirely immune to the dejection and depression which seems to be part and parcel of daily living.
When these dark moods arise we need to remember that God is alive and has not lost control.
The birth of the Baby, Jesus not only changes our eternal future, He can also change our present outlook. Matthew spoke of those changes when He wrote: “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
Loving that Light, trusting God’s grace, Luther found the Spirit had the ability to change his outlook… and the outlook of others with whom he visited and worked.
Summarizing, the Reformer said, “Listen to the (Christmas) angel’s song, all you who have a troubled heart! (The angels said) ‘I bring you good tidings of great joy!”’ If you want to define Christ rightly, then pay heed to how the angel defines Jesus, calling Him, ‘a great joy!’”
Which is the Lord this sinful world needs.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are times when I, like Luther, feel that times and situations are working against me. At such dark moments let me reflect on the Savior Who brings light and life into this sin-darkened world. Rejoicing in the forgiveness He has won, let my life reflect a spirit of joy and gladness which my Savior alone can give. In His Name I pray. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html