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The Light That Overcomes All Darkness

 Light That Overcomes All Darkness 

disharmonyEpiphany is the season of light, and this week’s readings proclaim the light that has come into the world to dispel all darkness.

Isaiah [9:1-4] speaks of light coming to those experiencing the deep darkness of anguish and torment.

Psalm 27 refers to the Lord as “my light and my salvation…the stronghold of my life” [v1].

Our Epistle records the Apostle Paul calling the members of the divided church in Corinth to open their eyes and see the damage caused by disunity within the body of Christ. Factional disharmony was threatening the fabric and work of the growing church, and clouding the reputation and essence of the gospel. So Paul points to the power of the cross in overcoming human foolishness and in healing relationships.

Matthew’s gospel records Jesus fulfilling the ancient promise of Isaiah as he calls his disciples into service and begins his earthly ministry, proclaiming the kingdom of God and the need for repentance.

The light of God calls people to rejoice and to follow Jesus into a ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing where we honour our essential unity as members of the one body and our need for Christ and one another.

This light of truth and love has come particularly to those who sit in darkness: the darkness of exile, of division, of suffering, or the darkness of intolerance and ignorance to the true word of God.

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.’ [1Corinthians 1:10]

“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned.” [Matthew 4:16]

 

Acknowledgements: 

Boyd, Mary. http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/article/entry/4614/worship-elements-january-26-2014-option-2

Brown, Joanne http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/article/entry/4613/worship-elements-january-26-2014-option-1

 

Isaiah 9:1-4

1But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. 3You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

10Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Paul?  14I thank God that I baptised none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptised in my name. 16(I did baptise also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptised anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptise but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. 18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Matthew 4:12-23

12Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

18As he walked 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. 19And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

23Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.