Great morning Church,
What a beautiful weekend! God is awesome!
Well, it has been another crazy week in a very turbulent world. You would have to be living under a rock not to notice how chaotic and volatile the atmosphere is around us. We are living in pandemic and pandemonium! When people are squeezed out of the regular rhythm of life, chaos ensues. The longer I am on planet Earth, the more I realize that we seem to go through these cycles every few years, and the same issues resurface - inequality, injustice, global sickness, rebellion against government, etc. Jesus nailed it: "This is an evil generation" (v.29).
In a conversation I had recently about the world's events, we concluded that it was really the heart of man that is the heart of the problem. In order for real social transformation to happen, we need to be made new. Not even religion, nor religious people can change society. This week's reading makes this clear.
29-32 Repentance: Jesus came into the chaotic, crazy first century doing signs and wonders, setting people free, giving hope and comfort. He just finished setting a man free from an evil spirit - a mute man spoke - then He is asked for a "sign" (11:16); which leads to today's reading. One miracle is never enough; we always want to see the better and greater from the people we follow, in order to prove themselves. This request by the people leads Jesus to call them "evil" (v. 29). Here is the sign people need to see- the sign of Jonah, which points to Jesus' death and resurrection!(see Matthew 12:39-42). We now know that the death and resurrection of Christ brings new life, and a new heart to all those who believe and receive this truth(see Romans 6). The key is repentance (v. 32).
33-36 Replacement: Exchange the darkness for light. This is one of Jesus' favorite illustrations. You can really see what is in a person's heart by their actions - what are they focussing on. Note the connection between the eyes and the condition of the body. Focus on the darkness, and one will be dark. Focus on Jesus, the light of the world, and the whole person will be made light. How do we overcome an evil generation? "See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness." (vs. 35)
35-54 Re-alignment: How can light be darkness? By seeking religion over Jesus. Religion is a bunch of external rules with no heart transformation. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were a great example of people who were externally shining the light, but internally dark (vs. 39). What was Jesus' solution to hypocritical, self-centered religion? Be generous to the poor (v. 41); don't neglect justice and the love of God (v. 42). In other words, let the world see the evidence of a transformed heart, that is not focused on looking good, but rather serving others in love. Our faith must be put into action. Our light must be allowed to shine, so that the world will see our good deeds, and glorify God in heaven.
As I meditate on the condition of our world, I see more clearly the need for the church to rise up and be the light of the world. We need to be the ones with solutions to the world's problems. First we have to get the world to listen to us. That is achieved by the love of Christ exuding from us in tangible expressions of the love of God. How would God use you to demonstrate that His light is in your heart?
Have a great week!