Daily Reflection – 1/6/20
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen. From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him. (Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25)
Jesus takes up John’s message of repentance and calls disciples to believe in the good news he has come to deliver. What is the good news which Jesus delivers? It is the good news of peace (restoration of relationship with God), of hope (the hope of resurrection and heaven), of truth (God’s word is true and reliable), of promise (he rewards those who seek him), of immortality (God gives everlasting life), and the good news of salvation (liberty from sin and freedom to live as sons and daughters of God).
But notice that it is repentance which comes first. Why? Repentance requires a life-change and a transformation of heart and mind. The Holy Spirit gives us a repentant heart, a true sorrow and hatred for sin and its consequences, and a firm resolution to avoid it in the future. The Holy Spirit gives us grace to see our sin for what it is — rebellion and a rejection of the love of God. God’s grace helps us to turn away from all that would keep us from his love.
The Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for us to accept and believe the truth. To believe is to take Jesus at his word, to believe that God loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to redeem us from the slavery of sin and death. God made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to bring us back to himself.
If we are to become fully Christian, it needs to become who we are in every aspect of our lives, because we have fully abandoned sin and antipathy to follow Christ. We may stumble and transgress, but even then, we must still discern the call in order to know that we have done so, rather than rationalize our sinfulness in an attempt try to eat our cake and have it too.
Today we also can gather at Jesus’ feet. We can simply listen to what He may have to say for us. Or we might wish to tell Him what we need and hope for. Do we trust that Jesus will listen to us? Do we believe that Jesus will heal us in some fashion? Today, may we pray to place our hope and our trust in Jesus. He will not fail us!
Prayer of The Day
Lord, your ways are life and light! Let your word penetrate my heart and transform my mind that I may see your power and glory. Help me to choose your ways and to do what is pleasing to you.
The person of Jesus and the message he proclaims are as powerful today as when he began his ministry. He is as much God’s gift to us today as he was two thousand years ago for the people who flocked to him. He is just as much a light in our darkness now as he was then. It is good to remind ourselves of this basic truth about our faith as we face into the year that lies ahead.