Matthew 4:16-17, 19 "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." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." . . . And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
There is no doubt that there are events in life that not only change your lifeís direction, but they change your life. There is, for example, good reason to sit still, if you are completely in the dark. Its not something you think about, but it makes good sense, we might sometimes walk about the house in relative darkness, but we know where we are, we know where we are going and we know what to expect. For although it is dark, there is enough light that we can tell which direction we are going, and our memories remind us of what obstacles we should expect.
Life is usually not as friendly as our home. In the first place we do not know all the obstacles. In the second place, we are not certain where we are going, or how to get there. And if it is really and truly dark, the best thing you can do, is to sit still, and hope that some light might show you the way. If you donít sit still, you may certainly fall into great peril and danger; so sitting still is the safest course.
And if you were sitting in darkness, waiting for the light to dawn, when that light came, you would be ready to move Ė because sitting still is not our favorite thing, we just donít have the patience, and we do like to see progress. Therefore the dawning of the light, becomes a major event in our lives, it gets us moving again. And in the move out of darkness, the first major obstacle, the first major event, is the call to repentance. Sin breeds darkness, and repentance is a call to turn from darkness and turn to the light of Christ. Some people get stuck here, for some reason, there is some bit of darkness they have difficulty letting go off Ė some bit of darkness they want to bring with them. But light and darkness donít mix, at least not when it comes to the things of God. For God calls us to be perfect, to be filled with light Ė and this leaves no room for darkness.
But perhaps what is greater, is that in the light, we see that darkness has been overcome. And if the light calls us out of darkness it also calls us to share in the victory over darkness. Who wants to remain in darkness, to choose a looser? So the Spirit works faith through the word, enlightens our lives, and calls us to repent, and by the faith, which is also a gift of the light, enables us to turn from the darkness of sin, to the light of our savior.
So the light comes, we are called to repent, and as by faith we turn to God, we receive from our Savior forgiveness of sins, and we are made a new creation, we are made children of the light. And at this point, many thankful for the forgiveness of sins, thankful to have been lead out of the darkness, turn to God, thank Him, and then go on their own ways. It may seem logical, you are in the light, you can see the dangers, you can avoid them, you can make your own way. While they all agree it is necessary for follow Jesus to find your way out of the darkness, they see no need to continue to follow, once they have reached the light.
And they would be 100% correct, if they had actually reached the light, and if there was no more darkness in them. And thatís the problem, because Christians sin, and Christians must daily repent, must daily drown the old nature, must daily rise to the new life in Christ. We need to continue to follow, both for the light which shows us our sins, and the call to repent Ė but also for the light which shows us the grace of God. We follow the savior to remain in the light, and so we donít fall back again into darkness.
But there is more, for Godís plan for us to follow our savior, is not just about light leading us out of darkness, its not just about repentance, and the forgiveness of sins, it is about Godís on-going plan for our lives. For there is more to our life, that forgiveness, or faith, or a call to follow our Savior Ė there is the gracious call to work with our Savior, in bringing light to the whole world. A plan for our lives, that henceforth, by the grace of God, not only are we children of light, but we have been called to be fishers of men. Bringing them to the Savior, the light of the world. This is what it is to be a disciple, and this is not only what we have been called to be, but this is what we are called to make of all peoples and nations, for Jesus sake.