(Written to go with a sermon based on Matthew 4:12-17)
Have you ever experienced total darkness? During one of our vacations, our family toured a cave. While we were in one of the galleries, the tour guide turned off the lights. No matter how you strained your eyes, you could see nothing. It seemed like the entire universe contracted to just yourself. The sense of isolation was eerie. Not to mention the real danger of injuring yourself by running into something or stepping into a hole because you couldn’t see.
Having experienced total darkness a few times, I really admire the blind who refuse to allow their inability to see to hold them back. I honestly don’t know whether I could cope with not being able to see. Glaucoma runs in my family. My mother had it. All but one of my siblings have it. I have it. In time, there is a real possibility that we will lose some or all of our sight. The thought of going blind, and having to spend my days in darkness is, quite frankly, frightening.
As bad as the thought of physical blindness is, there is another kind of blindness which is even worse. It’s being in spiritual darkness. It’s being without purpose or direction. It’s not knowing what is right or wrong. Or, even worse, knowing that you’re wrong but not knowing how to change. It’s not being able to resist the evil that is within.
It’s not that light isn’t available to us. But just like a person whose eyes no longer work, we can be blind to spiritual truth.
Where can we find light? How can we see? Jesus said, “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)
To put it another way, the source of light is Jesus. If we want to see, we must believe in Him and surrender ourselves to Him. The Apostle Paul writes this in 2nd Corinthians chapter 4, verses 4 through 6, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4-6 NIV)
We’re privileged to live at a time in history where illumination is commonly available. We can see at all hours of the night because we have lights we turn on with a simple flick of a switch. However, the lights we find so convenient are not cost free. If we want to continue to enjoy the blessings of light, we have to pay the electric bill.
The spiritual light which Christ supplies isn’t free either. We must be willing to pay the cost of following Him if we want to continue to receive it. More than that, it cost Jesus a tremendous price to make it possible for Him to provide us light. It cost Him His life to illuminate our lives.
Jesus asked us to remember the price He paid. As He instructed, we eat a piece of unleavened bread in His memory each Sunday. We drink some juice to remind us of His blood.
However, this occasion is not just a reminder, it’s also a time for us to renew our commitment to Him. Just like we pay the electric bill to keep the lights on, with these emblems we renew our relationship to Christ.