"The people that sat in darkness Saw a great light, And to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, To them did light spring up. From that time began Jesus to preach, and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (ASV)
Light is integral to the human experience. It guides us, warms us, nourishes us. After all these years, scientists are finally recognizing that sunlight is beneficial to our health. It provides a source of vitamin D, which aids our immune system. It has also been shown to help protect us from several types of cancer. Clearly we need light to thrive.
Can you imagine the complete darkness of a nighttime with no electricity? People must have felt blinded after the sun's last rays of the day were gone. Of course, they had oil lamps, but those provide little light. They can't reach very far into the darkness. How fearfully hidden the world must have looked on a cloudy night when not even the light of the moon or stars could be seen!
In many ways, our world today is living in that same darkness. Oh sure, we have streetlights and headlights and spotlights and so forth, but we have done very little to chase back the darkness of the soul. The majority of the people we encounter every day have no inner light.
God is the source of light. "And this is the message which we have heard from him and announce unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5 ASV) As much as many like to pretend He's out there in the darkness somewhere, we know better. Light can never be veiled in darkness because darkness flees from it. Darkness can not stand in it's presence.
Jesus came to this earth to grant us that light. When he began to preach, the entire region saw a great light. He was God's light sent down from Heaven to walk the earth for a time. While He was here, he brought his light to as many as would listen.
Jesus said "Ye are the light of the world." (Matthew 5:14a ASV) Now that Christ has returned to His Father's side, he has left for us the Holy Spirit to be our light. We are like the lamps of old, vessels for holding the light. It lives in each of us who are believers and followers of Christ, and we are called to let it shine forth to a world that trembles in the darkness.
When is the last time you shared God's light with someone still living in darkness?